Canal deaths `accidental'

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The Independent Online
A CARE worker yesterday described her hopeless struggle to rescue four people as they drowned on a canal boat that got caught in a lock.

The three men and a woman, who all had learning difficulties, were with four carers on a canal holiday at Gargrave, near Skipton, North Yorkshire, last August when their narrow boat snagged on a lock gate and sank.

Carer Pamela Cain told an inquest she was at the controls of the boat Drum Major, in Stegneck Lock, on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, when she noticed it was tilting and taking on water. She ran into the galley to help the four inside. But when the boat crashed free of the lock, it was engulfed by water. "I couldn't get back to them. I tried but there was too much debris blocking the gangway" said Miss Cain.

The four, from Mill Lane Day Centre, Cumbria - Beverley Wilson, 33, John McGill, 49, Eric Jones, 43, and Peter Burgess, 42 - all died.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded after experts said there had been no similar accident on Britain's waterways.