North East Wales

Anglesey sea kayakers' 'accidental deaths'

Elizabeth Ashbee
Image caption Elizabeth Ashbee was an experienced kayaker, an inquest into her death was told

A coroner is urging kayakers to be better prepared after recording accidental deaths on two people in separate incidents off Anglesey.

In one case, he criticised a group from Shropshire for not carrying a means of communication after getting into difficulty near Rhoscolyn.

And in another he referred to a kayaker who had no buoyancy aid while going to photograph seals at sea near Aberffraw.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones said he hoped his remarks would be heeded.

"But I say similar things all too often with mountaineering incidents and they don't reduce in number," he added.

An inquest into the death of Elizabeth Ashbee, 53, an environmental engineer, of Underdale, Shrewsbury, and also an experienced kayaker, was told that she drowned last August after becoming separated from a group of kayakers.

'Better equipped'

The hearing at Llangefni was told that she was with members of Shrewsbury Canoe Club - although the trip was described as one involving a group of friends rather than a club activity.

Several kayakers had paddled out of a sheltered bay near Rhoscolyn but the journey went wrong when one capsized as the sea became rougher, losing a paddle.

North west Wales coroner Mr Pritchard-Jones said the party made the mistake of going towards rocky Rhoscolyn Beacon.

Image caption The two incidents happened off the west coast of Anglesey

"The decision to go to the beacon wasn't a wise one," he remarked. "The wind especially swept them south."

The coroner questioned the planning and qualifications of the kayakers.

He also pointed out that they had no method of communication or flares to alert emergency services to their difficulties.

"I'm hoping what I've said will mean other groups are better equipped and better plan their activities" he added.

Earlier, a verdict of accidental death was also recorded on another kayaker, Simon Sait, 34, a computer software engineer, of Boughton, Chester, who drowned at Aberffraw, also on the west coast of Anglesey, while paddling out to photograph seals in the sea last April.

The coroner said his kayak had probably capsized and Mr Sait had no lifejacket or buoyancy aid which might have saved him.

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