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Kayak race verged on tragedy

Posted in: Public Liability 

After around 40 kayakers set off on a boat race off the Dorset coast last week, many faced serious difficulties with some going missing and others being airlifted to hospital.

One man required serious medical attention as a member of the public spotted him clinging on to his vessel as he struggled against the treacherous waves.  He was then airlifted to hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and hypothermia.

‘not the place to be in a kayak’

The race, which started in Weymouth and finished in Lulworth, saw kayakers facing dangerous conditions off Durdle Door; described by the coastguard as being particularly unsafe for such activities: “The swell was bad, the wind was high and it was not the place to be in a kayak.”

Many have put the outcome of this event down to poor planning.  Portland Coastguard was disappointed in organisers for not informing them about the event and believes that a tragedy could have stemmed from such poor preparation.  Two coastguard teams, two RNLI lifeboats and helicopter spent 2 hours on a search for missing kayakers all because of a failure to plan.

One participant in the race managed to overshoot the finish line due to currents, causing him to drift into the Army’s firing range training area. Firing was suspended as kayakers were towed back to safety, however, the consequences of the event could have been tragic.

If you have sustained an injury in a similar way, and would like to speak to one of our lawyers, please contact us.


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