'I need to see a body' - Sister's torment over speedboat deaths

Emergency services recover a boat from the sea off the coast of Lowestoft.

Back in 2014, as emergency services recover a boat from the sea off the coast of Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The sister of one of three men believed to have died in a speedboat crash seven years ago told of her pain after a long-awaited inquest, saying "I need to see a body".

Gail Glanville, who had earlier sought clarity over whether her brother Andrew Porter was in the boat at the time of the accident, said the inquest had not offered the closure she had hoped for.

She said: "There is still no body and I need to see a body. We needed some closure and that is what we are here for, but I don't think I've got it today."

The inquest heard father-of-two Porter, 46, and 79-year-old grandfather Malcolm Sayer, who both lived in the Great Yarmouth area, had never been found following the incident in March 2014.

It was told the three men were likely to have died when a speedboat capsized after becoming tangled in fishing gear they were collecting.  

An inquest into their deaths was opened in June, more than seven years after their disappearance, and heard three men were aboard the blue and white speedboat when its propeller snagged on a fishing line.

Gail Glanville and brother Andrew Porter

Gail Glanville and brother Andrew Porter, who went missing when his fishing boat capsized off the Lowestoft coast in March 2014. - Credit: Gail Glanville

The body of 43-year-old Peter Chambers, who was wearing a buoyancy aid, was recovered by the coastguard after staff at a nearby travel agents saw the aid and debris floating in the water at around 1.45pm.

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The trio had set out at about 10.15am on March 10, 2014, to recover fishing equipment laid the day before, with witnesses, including a Coastwatch volunteer, reporting three men on board when it left the harbour at Great Yarmouth.

Both men were reported missing by their families following their disappearance, but no sightings have been made anywhere in the world, despite "extensive searches" following the incident.

A car registered to Mr Sayer, of Vauxhall Terrace, was found parked near to the harbour, with a passport application for Mr Porter also found inside.

An accident summary by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, read to the hearing by principal inspector Michael Travis, states: "It is not possible to establish the circumstances that led to this, but the most likely scenario was that the propeller was fouled by the fishing line while they were recovering it, anchoring the stern into the prevailing winds.

"The wind increased and the tide changed, resulting in strong waves, which would have entered the boat as the men worked together to clear the propeller.

"The stability would have been reduced until the boat capsized, which could have happened very quickly."

Mr Travis also told jurors the impact of cold water shock could have killed the men within a matter of minutes, with the boat believed to have capsized around 12.30pm.

Mr Porter, a father-of-two of Admiralty Road, had bought the boat from eBay less than a year before the incident, but was described as being "cautious" by the MAIB, having returned from an earlier trip after just 14 minutes once he saw the conditions outside the harbour.

One of five siblings, Mr Porter was born in Great Yarmouth and moved to London with his family in the 1970s, before returning to Norfolk a decade later.

In a statement read to the hearing, Gail Glanville said: "I spent a lot of my younger life with my brother. We were inseparable.

"Two days before this I visited him in Great Yarmouth and we had the best day ever. We shared a lot of hugs and kisses and laughs and he promised we would keep in contact more.

"It seemed like fate to be brought together before we lost each other again, this time forever." 

His daughter, Andrea Porter, said: "He was loving and caring and always there when we needed him."

Jurors at the inquest, held at Suffolk Coroner's Court on Monday, August 2, returned a conclusion after less than 90 minutes of deliberation, unanimously recording both Mr Porter and Mr Sayer died accidentally after drowning as a result of cold water shock.

An inquest held in November 2014 similarly concluded Mr Chambers had drowned and his death was accidental. 


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