Fine for farming partnership following death of brothers

17:54 17 February 2014

Ashley and Luke Yardy

Ashley and Luke Yardy

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A farming partnership has been fined following the death of brothers Ashley and Luke Yardy at Kingfishers Bridge Wetland, in Wicken, back in 2011.

Luke Yardy, 17, of King Cob, Stretham, drowned on September 11 when he fell from a small boat while trying to retrieve the carcass of a dead bird from a lake, shot the previous evening as part of a cull.

He had been engaged to work on the site by AC, PC, & RC Green, a farming partnership managing the wetland on behalf of the Kingfishers Bridge Wetland Creation Trust.

The partnership was prosecuted today (Monday) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found he had not been provided with a life jacket.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that Mr Yardy had also not received any training in the use of boats or water craft.

He quickly got into difficulty when he fell into the water. His brother, Ashley Yardy, 22, also of Stretham, who was watching from the lakeside, entered the lake to attempt a rescue, but he also drowned despite managing to swim out and reach his brother.

Their bodies were recovered a significant time later after the emergency services were called.

AC, PC, & RC Green, of Wicken, was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £31,252 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 4(2) of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Burns said:

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident that has taken the lives of two loving brothers and devastated their family and friends.

“Had Luke been wearing a simple floatation aid, like a life jacket, then he would not have drowned, and Ashley would not have needed to attempt a rescue.

“Those in control of lakes that people are allowed to access by boat should ensure that lifejackets are worn at all times unless there are specific grounds for not doing so. That wasn’t the case here, and a jacket should have been worn.”

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