Divers try to find boat tragedy clues

POLICE divers are planning to carry out an inspection of a pleasure cruiser to try to establish why it capsized, leading to the death of a mother-of-three.

POLICE divers are planning to carry out an inspection of a pleasure cruiser to try to establish why it capsized, leading to the death of a mother-of-three.

A post-mortem examination carried out at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital confirmed the 42-year-old woman drowned following the accident on the River Bure at Horning on Saturday.

The name of the dead woman, who came from Middlesex, will not be released until an inquest is opened in Norwich tomorrow afternoon.

Her 49-year-old sister, who comes from Suffolk, had also been trapped up to her neck in water in an air pocket under the stricken craft.

She was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital suffering from hypothermia and shock, but was allowed to go home after treatment.

Investigators have yet to establish the cause of the accident and Norfolk police spokesman, Mel Lacey, said divers would begin inspecting the boat to try to find any clues before attempts were made to recover the vessel.

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“We are conducting a full investigation into the accident and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch are involved with that. All possibilities will be looked at,” he added.

“Police divers will be at the scene looking for anything that might help us with our inquiries.

“We also still want to hear from anybody who witnessed what happened, particularly from people who were on other boats in the area at the time.”

The 20ft pleasure cruiser had been hired for the day from Barnes Brinkcraft in Wroxham to the party of four adults and six children. They were on their way back to the boatyard when the accident happened.

The fathers and the children managed to climb off the stricken vessel and on to a passing boat, but the two mothers were trapped in an air pocket for about an hour with water up to their necks.

The husband of one of the women alerted emergency services by dialling 999 and emergency services, including an RAF helicopter from Wattisham Airfield, were called to the scene just after 6pm.

Rescuers - including an RAF helicopter crewman who was winched down to the boat - cut a hole in its hull to get to the women and they were airlifted to hospital.

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