Paul Turner tells an inquest of his desperate dash to rescue his stricken fiancee, Rebecca Hellens from Chatteris, after she was involved in a jet ski collision at South Lakes Ski School in Little Paxton
- Credit: Archant
A man has described how he pulled his dying fiancé from a water sports lake after she had been involved in a collision on a jet ski.
Paul Turner was giving evidence on the second day of an inquest into the death of Rebecca Hellens, who died on July 26, 2015, at the South Lakes Ski School, in Little Paxton, near St Neots.
The hearing at Peterborough Town Hall was told that Miss Hellens, who has been described as a competent and experienced jet skier, was riding a custom-built orange Yamaha super jet stand-up machine, when she collided with her friend, Nicholas Rudd, who was out on the water for the first time.
Mr Rudd was riding a Kawasaki XI sit-down jet ski, belonging to Mr Turner, and had that morning received a visual lesson and safety instructions, including advice to stay in the middle part of the lake, which is reserved for beginners, from Mr Turner.
“We had the lake to ourselves, which is ideal for people learning to jet ski,” said Mr Turner.
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“I told Mr Rudd to stay in the middle part of the lake, inside the buoys, and told him to get used to the jet ski and take it steady.”
Mr Turner watched Mr Rudd from the bank for a few minutes and then Miss Hellens took her jet ski onto the water and moved off slowly in front of him. He then turned to speak to Mr Rudd’s girlfriend, Chloe Stratton, who was standing next to him, but moments later he became aware that something had happened. He told the inquest from his recollection; Mr Rudd was on the left-hand side of the lake and hit Miss Hellens on the left-hand side of her jet ski.
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“Mr Rudd came in and hit her. It seemed to happen very slowly. He hit the ski, bang, just like that. I didn’t see her fall and I was trying to see where she was.”
Mr Turner, who had to stop several times to compose himself, explained that he saw Mr Rudd who was still sitting on his jet ski, but he couldn’t see Miss Hellens.
“My first thought was that I’ve got to get to her so I grabbed the other jet ski and went flat out to where Becky’s jet ski was.”
By this time, Mr Rudd had swam over to Miss Hellens and had hold of her.
“I knew I had to keep her head above the water so I took Becky from him and he kept saying ‘what have I done, what have I done’. She was making a horrible sound, a rasping sound. She had a small mark on her head above her right eye, but her eyes were fixed.”
With Mr Rudd’s help, he managed to get Miss Hellens back to the shore and shouted to Miss Stratton to call for an ambulance.
“She had the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen but they were dull and fixed and I shouted at her ‘don’t you die on me’. I felt so helpless, so useless, I just didn’t know what to do.”
Attempts were made to perform CPR on Miss Hellens, but she died later at Bedford Hospital.
The inquest continues.