Coroner calls for more signage on town beach following double death

The air ambulance landing in Clacton last summer PICTURE: JAKE FOXFORD

The air ambulance landing in Clacton last summer PICTURE: JAKE FOXFORD - Credit: Archant

A coroner who looked into the death of two siblings who died on Clacton beach last summer has called for improved warning signage on the town’s shores.

Clacton seafront has seen three teenage deaths in three years Picture: SIMON PARKER

Clacton seafront has seen three teenage deaths in three years Picture: SIMON PARKER

Malika Shamas, 14, and Haider Ali, 18, died last August on the beach after they got into difficulties while bathing in the sea, near a groyne.

An inquest found that the siblings had died from drowning and pneumonia.

Senior Coroner for Essex Caroline Beasley-Murray expressed a number of concerns about warning notices - particularly about the size of the text on the boards, questioned whether they were likely to be read by anyone and suggested more child friendly signs would also be helpful.

The siblings had travelled to the beach with family members from their home in Luton for a day at the seaside.

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In the notice to Tendring District Council, the coroner said: "In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and your organisation have the power to take such action."

Among the items of concern were the inadequacy of the signage in and around the beach.

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She said that this was all the more important given that another teenager, 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine, had died on the beach in 2018.

She also called for more surveillance on the beach as well as more liaison work with the RNLI.

Mike Carran, Head of Sport and Leisure at Tendring District Council, said: "Our thoughts and condolences are, and always will be, with the family and friends of Malika Shamas and Haider Ali.

"The tragic event of last summer which led to their untimely deaths touched everyone at Tendring District Council, and in particular those hard-working members of our Beach Patrol who battled to save their lives.

"Nothing can bring back these teenagers, who had their lives ahead of them. However we hope that this tragedy can help to raise awareness of the dangers inherent at the coast - particularly with the traditionally harder-to-reach inland community - and help to prevent further tragedies.

"To this end we will continue to work with our partners, including the RNLI, through the Tendring Water Safety Forum, to do everything possible to make our coastline as safe as it can be. This will range from reviewing our signage in line with national guidance, and continuing to promote education about water safety to our young people.

"We will, as part of this, consider how best to implement the recommendations made by the coroner to further improve safety on our seafronts."

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