Devon

Exeter death fall climber 'failed to tie knot properly'

climber Image copyright IRVING OF EXETER
Image caption Donald Wiseman had a reputation as a "good and considerate climber", the inquest heard

An experienced climber fell to his death after he failed to tie his rope knot properly and it came undone, a jury inquest has heard.

Donald Wiseman, 56, had been climbing for 28 years when he fell 10 metres from the top of a wall at an adventure centre in Exeter.

His friend Liam Hockey, holding his rope, would not have known it was not attached, Exeter Coroner's Court heard.

Post-mortem tests concluded Mr Wiseman died from a "massive chest injury".

His widow Marion said he always used good and updated equipment and had a reputation as a "good and considerate climber".

Image copyright IRVING OF EXETER
Image caption Donald Wiseman had 28 years climbing experience before his death in May 2018

Mr Hockey said the pair had climbed eight routes over two hours before the incident happened at Quay Climbing Club on 25 May 2018.

They had acted as 'belay' to each other, holding the rope to prevent the climber falling too far.

At about 16:30 BST, Mr Wiseman, from South Brent, Devon, climbed to the top of one of the most difficult walls but his figure-of-eight knot came undone.

Climber Roy Cousins heard a crash and "saw a large cloud of dust and a man on his back... and the floor tiles had been lifted by the impact", jurors heard.

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"This was a tragic accident due to human error," said Martin Westcott, an environmental health officer for Exeter City Council.

He explained the climber always ties the knot but a buddy system, where climbers check each other's ropes and knots, "may have prevented the accident".

Mr Westcott added there were no problems with the harnesses or climbing gear.

The jury recorded a conclusion of accidental death at the inquest on 24 July.

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