Coastguards sued over Lyme Bay canoe deaths

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The Independent Online
A damages claim against the Government over the 1993 Lyme Bay canoeing disaster in which four teenagers were drowned has the potential to cost huge sums of money, it emerged yesterday.

A writ just issued against the Department of Transport, which is responsible for the coastguard service, alleges that the youngsters who died would have survived but for negligence by coastguards and that the survivors would not have been injured.

The action has been launched by organisers of the canoeing trip, OLL Ltd, of Ellenborough House, Wellington Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. They are seeking an indemnity in respect of compensation they have paid to the families of those who died and to the survivors. Their writ claims that HM Coastguard Portland, Dorset, failed to convey any sense of urgency to Royal Navy helicopters, misinterpreted weather conditions, directed search helicopters to the wrong area and failed to operate an effective chain of command.

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