Bereaved father calls for boat safety law

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A man whose son was killed by a runaway speedboat 13 years ago is calling for Government legislation to be introduced to prevent further tragedy.

Water safety campaigner Heddon Johnson, 60, said the recent incident in Cornwall – in which two members of the same family were killed and others seriously injured by an out-of-control vessel – brought back painful memories of his son’s death in 2000.

Nick Milligan, with his wife Victoria and children (from left to right) Emily, Olivia, Kit and Amber.

Nick Milligan, with his wife Victoria and children (from left to right) Emily, Olivia, Kit and Amber.

Tristan Douglas-Johnson, from Dorchester in Dorset, died at the Southampton International Boat Show 13 years ago when he was thrown from a speedboat and run over as it circled unpredictably in the water. The driver had not been wearing the “kill cord”, which is designed to cut power to the engine when the operator moves away from the controls.

Mr Johnson’s renewed calls for legislation making the wearing of the cord mandatory come after initial investigations by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), published yesterday, said the driver of the speedboat in the Camel Estuary on Sunday, May 5, had not been wearing a kill cord.

It has still not been confirmed who was driving the boat at the time of the incident.

Nick Milligan, 51, the managing director of Sky’s advertising sales division, Sky Media, was declared dead at the scene in Padstow, along with his daughter, Emily, eight, following the incident.

Mr Milligan’s wife, Victoria, 39, and the couple’s other children Amber, 12, Olivia, 10, and Kit, four, were also injured by the speedboat as it circled at high speed.

Mr Johnson has posted a petition on the website in an effort to put pressure on the Government and introduce new compulsory safety measures, which he claims could prolong lives.

He said: “I want people to take this seriously, because the kill cord can save lives in this sort of situation.

“Seeing the footage from Cornwall on the television brought back the terrible memories of my own son’s death.

“I can’t sit back and risk letting this happen again – I want to do something.”