Padstow RIB tragedy: driver was not wearing kill cord

Marine Accident Investigation Branch confirms detail in preliminary report into accident

The driver of the RIB from which six family members were ejected earlier in May resulting in the deaths of a father and daughter was not wearing a kill cord, the investigation into the accident has found.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch confirmed the detail in a preliminary report issued today, in which it said the kill cord “was not attached to the driver at the time of the accident”.

The tragic accident happened on May 5 in the Camel Estuary near Padstow. The family of six – Nick Milligan, 51, his wife Victoria, 39, and their four children, Amber, 12, Olivia, 10, Emily, 8, and Kit, 4 – were all thrown from their Cobra RIB as it was travelling at speed.

Witnesses said they saw the boat lurch sharply to the right, ejecting the family into the estuary, before starting to circle out of control. The father, Nick Milligan, and his daughter Emily were killed as the boat ran over the top of them.

His wife, Victoria, and four-year-old son Kit were also seriously injured. The two other daughters, Amber and Olivia, escaped serious injury.

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The RIB was eventually brought under control when local waterskiing instructor Charlie Toogood jumped on board the boat from another craft, steering it away from the casualties.

The exact “mechanism that led to the family being ejected” is still under investigation.

The MAIB said that in order that the tragedy isn’t repeated, all users of boats fitted with kill cords should:

– Test them regularly to ensure that the engine stops when the kill cord mechanism is operated.

– Make sure that the cord is in good condition.

– Always attach the cord securely to the driver, ideally before the engine is started, but certainly before the boat is put in gear.

– Stop the engine before transferring the kill cord to another driver.

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