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Roadford Lake victims were on wheelchair

Jun 28, 2023

Two people who died when a boat capsized on a reservoir in Devon were wheelchair users on board a specially modified vessel, a report has found.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released an interim report into the sinking on Roadford Lake near Okehampton in June 2022.

Police named the two people who died as Alex Wood, 43, and Alison Tilsley, 63.

They were on board a 5.3m (17ft) aluminium wheelchair-accessible open boat owned by the Wheelyboat Trust.

The Wheelyboat Trust is a charity that provides "uniquely designed wheelchair-accessible Wheelyboats", according to its website.

Mr Wood and Mr Tilsley were on board the boat with one other wheelchair user and three other people when it capsized on its way back to the Roadford Lake Activity Centre on 8 June 2022.

The activity centre is managed by South West Lakes Trust.

The MAIB report said the occupants were thrown into the water from the boat which was "designed to be accessible and incorporated a bow ramp".

There was a major emergency response, and four of the people were rescued.

Wheelyboat 123 was recovered from the lake after the accident.

The interim report is based on evidence gathered to this point, the MAIB said.

The MAIB said its investigation had "considered the identified aspects of the accident to determine the causes and circumstances of the capsize and the reasons why two of the boat's occupants did not survive".

A draft of the full report is being prepared before being distributed to stakeholders for a 30-day consultation period "in due course".

The interim report published on Thursday said the capsize happened around 12:10 BST, with force 5 west south-westerly winds, and "variable surface conditions".

Inquests into the deaths opened and adjourned in June last year and no other boats were involved in the incident.

Both of the people who died were residents of Burdon Grange - a 30-bed home which offers care for adults with physical disabilities.

The South West Lakes Trust runs activities including kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and sailing.

The 730-acre (1.9 sq miles) lake has been a reservoir since 1989 and supplies water to Plymouth and other parts of south Devon, according to Visit Dartmoor.

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South West Lakes Trust - Roadford Lake