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No investigation six months after horrific school trip accident at Fairlop Waters

Thursday, February 7, 2013
11:04 AM

Nearly seven months after a schoolboy’s leg was “cut to the bone” by a boat propeller on school trip at Fairlop Waters Activity Centre, no investigation has started into the incident.

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The 11-year-old was raft-building with his classmates from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, in Chingford, on July 17.

His shoelaces were reportedly caught in the propeller of a patrol boat being operated by staff at the centre in Forest Road, Barkingside.

A witness, who did not want to be named, said: “The blade cut into his calf, it was open about five inches all the way to the bone.

“He was a really brave lad. His colour went to grey and they gave him oxygen when he was in the water.”

Firefighters from Dagenham station were there on a training exercise and helped the boy, who had been in the water for some time.

The fire crew went to the boy’s aid in a boat to free his leg and called an ambulance.

After being airlifted to hospital, the boy underwent several operations.

Redbridge Council promised an investigation into the incident but to date, nothing has been started because of disagreements over who should carry it out.

Fairlop Waters Outdoor Activity Centre is operated by Vision, which runs Redbridge Council’s leisure services.

While the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the council was the proper authority to investigate its contractor, the council has voiced concerns about a possible conflict of interest.

A spokesman said the council wrote to the HSE in September and has not had a response.

An HSE spokesman said the executive will have discussions with the authority to assist them “where appropriate”.

The activity centre has successfully renewed its licences from the Royal Yachting Association and the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority since the incident.

A Vision spokesman said: “Vision has met all the recommendations and the boat has been back in use for a considerable time.

“Vision takes its health and safety responsibilities very seriously.”

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