South Scotland

Thornhill quad bike death woman 'misjudged' crossing

Rescue teams and the upturned quad bike
Image caption A sheriff said Mrs Weir had probably misjudged the depth of the waters

A sheriff has ruled that a woman swept to her death from a quad bike probably misjudged the depth of the south of Scotland burn she was crossing.

The vehicle was found stuck in waters near Thornhill in April last year but the body of Linda Weir, 58, was not recovered until 17 days later.

Sheriff George Jamieson said she was an experienced quad bike rider and there were no defects on the machine.

He said it was likely she had been swept away by the "fast-moving stream".

A fatal accident inquiry at Dumfries Sheriff Court heard how Mrs Weir's husband had become concerned for her well-being when she failed to return to the farm they ran together after going out to feed their sheep.

He later found her quad bike stuck about 200 yards downstream from a crossing she usually used on the Burnsands Burn near their Crairieknowe Farm.

Mr Weir described searching the "fearsome" waters before a major search operation got under way on 5 April 2010.

His wife's body was eventually recovered downstream in the River Nith at Carnsalloch, near Dumfries, more than a fortnight later.

Sheriff Jamieson said that while Health and Safety Executive figures showed that most all-terrain vehicle accidents involved overturning this was unlikely to have been the cause in this case as the machine had been found upright by a banking in the stream.

He added: "It is more likely she was swept from the vehicle by the fast-moving stream and carried downstream by the burn."

He returned a formal verdict that Mrs Weir was drowned and that her death might have been avoided had she not attempted to cross the stream on the quad bike when it was swollen with fast-moving water.

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