Padstow speedboat crash: 'Kill cord' should have prevented tragedy that killed BSkyB executive Nick Milligan and daughter, say police

The accident also injured four other family members

The above video shows the empty speedboat circling in the water before waterskiing instructor, Charlie Toogood leapt onboard and switched off the engine.

Police are investigating why standard safety measures failed to stop a runaway speedboat from killing a father and daughter after they were thrown from the vessel.

Nick Milligan, an advertising executive, died with his eight-year-old daughter Emily after their boat went “out of control” off the coast of Padstow in Cornwall on Sunday. Four members of the family were also injured when they were all tossed overboard and struck by the boat as it continued to circle despite not having a driver.

The boat was only stopped when an onlooker, hailed as a hero, managed to jump on board from another boat and take the wheel.

But officials are assessing whether the boat had a “kill cord”, which is attached to the driver and is designed to cut the fuel supply if the driver falls overboard; and if the boat did have the safety device, why it failed to work.

Mr Milligan, who was managing director of Sky’s advertising sales division, Sky Media, was on holiday with his family when the incident happened. His 39-year-old wife, Victoria, and their four-year-old son, Kit, remain in hospital with “serious, potentially life-changing injuries”, while their other daughters Amber, 12, and Olivia, 10, suffered minor injuries.

Witnesses lauded the intervention of a waterskiing instructor, Charlie Toogood, who leapt into the speedboat to turn off its engine and stop it from causing further harm.

Footage shot by eyewitnesses and aired by the BBC shows the Milligans’ speedboat circling in the water,  while another vessel manoeuvres alongside it and Mr Toogood  jumps from one boat to the other. Detective Superintendent Jim Colwell said: “Without the brave and heroic efforts of local people and holidaymakers in the minutes immediately after this incident in assisting the family whilst they were in the water, if people hadn’t come to their assistance, I’m confident that this incident would have been far worse in terms of the overall death toll.”

Matt Pavitt, from the North Cornwall Coastguard, said two kayakers and at least three other vessels went to the aid of the family “within minutes”, while one man who went to help was named as Will Jones.

“One of the kayakers actually managed to manoeuvre their kayak in between the boat while it was still circling to provide aid to some people incredibly quickly,” he said.

Det Supt Colwell said the kill cord would be a “key focus” for the police. He said: “Clearly the reasons why the boat didn’t stop when it otherwise should have done, when there was nobody left on it, is a key part of our investigation.”

Grieving relatives paid tribute to Nick and Emily Milligan yesterday. The 51-year-old’s brother, Max, said Mr Milligan, known as “Nico”, was an “extremely loving father, husband, son and brother, who doted on his family”. He added: “As children and teenagers we spent many summers and New Year’s Eves at New Polzeath here in Cornwall and a few years ago he built his dream home above Daymer Bay.

“That he and my delightful niece died at their favourite place at the end of a gloriously sunny bank holiday weekend provides us with a tiny glimmer of light. I’d like to thank Devon and Cornwall Police and all the staff at Derriford Hospital who have been incredible over the last few days.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Researcher

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Controller

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Head Porter / Concierge

£16000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks