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Calls for changes at death spot

PUBLISHED: 09:25 17 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:31 05 July 2010

A CANOEIST is calling for changes to signs at the weir in Bungay where a woman drowned in front of her family.

Chris Sharp says he believes the Environment Agency had a "knee-jerk reaction" to introducing safety measures after the accident, and is urging it to simplify and enlarge signs near the spot where Amie Rae Drennan died in August 2007.

A CANOEIST is calling for changes to signs at the weir in Bungay where a woman drowned in front of her family.

Chris Sharp says he believes the Environment Agency had a “knee-jerk reaction” to introducing safety measures after the accident, and is urging it to simplify and enlarge signs near the spot where Amie Rae Drennan died in August 2007.

The family of the 30-year-old mother from Carlton Colville campaigned for more safety measures, after she drowned when the dinghy she was in overturned on the River Waveney, at Wainford Road.

Mr Sharp, who has been using the river for six years, has written several times to the Environment Agency to ask it to review its signs and put up warning notices about the circulating current caused by the weir.

He believes advice printed in a guide book which the agency had a hand in producing, Canoeing on the River Waveney, should be replicated in signs.

“If you go to the river itself you would have thought that they would have a more concise version reduced into bullet points and put up at every access point on the river,” he said.

He said that inexperienced river-users could easily be caught out when the river is in flood, such as on the day Miss Drennan died.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency, which is responsible for safety at the sluice, said: “The review of the public safety risk assessment after the tragic incident did indeed identify a few additional safety measures that we have installed since the incident.”

He said the steps taken included putting in grab chains on the walls so that people can pull themselves free, increasing the height of fencing around the weir, and constructing a new portage to launch boats further downstream, with fencing to stop people using the original one.

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