Council announces safety probe at ski school in Little Paxton after death of Chatteris jet skier Beki Hellens

Beki Hellens

Beki Hellens - Credit: Archant

An investigation is to be carried out by council officials after a crash at a ski school in which a 22-year-old Chatteris woman suffered fatal injuries, a pre-inquest review heard.

Jet skier Beki Hellens died after the collision with another jet ski being ridden by her friend, Nicholas Rudd, at the South Lake Ski School, in Little Paxton, on July 26.

Officers from Huntingdonshire District Council announced at yesterday’s (January 7) hearing in Huntingdon, the authority is to carry out a safety investigation at the ski school under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The hearing heard Ms Hellens, an experienced member of the school, was pulled from the water after the incident at the 8.5 acre lake and taken to Bedford Hospital, but died of her injuries a few hours later.

A post mortem by Dr Martin Goddard, a pathologist from Papworth Hospital, showed Ms Hellens died of injuries sustained in the crash.

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Owner of the South Lake Ski School, Paul Hammersley, told senior coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, David Heming: “On the day of the incident there were only two people on the lake and the lake is a fair size.”

Mr Heming questioned whether rules and regulations are in place at the lake that require, for example, a mandatory space between jet skis.

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Mr Hammersley said: “We do have a set of rules and go through everything with everybody before they go on the water but it is very hard to police it. It remains an unregulated pastime.

“When you get experienced jet skiers they always end up in a group, that’s just the way it is.”

An investigation was carried out by PC John Blood from Cambridgeshire police following the incident which found extensive damage to both Ms Hellens’ orange jet ski and Mr Rudd’s white Kawasaki jet ski.

Damian Vaile, a lawyer acting for Paul Turner, Ms Hellens’ partner, told the hearing: “There was no evidence of pre-existing faults. Both the jet skis were in great condition prior to the collision.”

The inquest was adjourned to allow the coroner’s office to gather more information.

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