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Friday, 8 March, 2002, 18:00 GMT
Safety call after school trip deaths
River Ribble weir
Water levels on the river had risen during the day
Safety experts have called for tighter rules following an inquest into the deaths of two girls on a school adventure trip.

Teenagers Rochelle Cauvet, 14, and Hannah Black, 13 died after being swept away by a flooded stream as they walked at the edge of the water with a school party.

The inquest jury returned verdicts of accidental death on Friday.

Peter Cornall, water safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) said: "We feel there is a real need for tighter controls to prevent further tragedies."

Dangerous pursuits

ROSPA has issued a series of suggestions for improved safety following the deaths of Rochelle and Hannah.

    ROSPA's recommendations include:

  • Teachers understanding a relatively safe activity can have the same consequences as more dangerous pursuits

  • Teachers have skills to carry out risk assessments and understand that it may be necessary to call off trips

  • Teachers are made aware of the type of activities where they may need to call in expert help

  • Parents must be told exactly what their children will be doing and should be given information about the skills of the people supervising the trip

    ROSPA is hoping the recommendations will be included in a government review of safety on school trips.

    Mr Cornall said school trips normally fell outside the regulations on adventure activities introduced after the Lyme Bay canoeing disaster, when four children died in Dorset in 1993.

    Hannah Black
    Hannah was 13-years-old when she died

    Marcus Bailie, head of inspection services for the Adventure Activity Licensing Authority, told BBC News Online: "We will do what we are asked to do, but we would not have been covering an activity like this (the North Yorkshire tragedy).

    "Schools providing activities to their own pupils are exempt from the regulations... it is not clear why this should be.

    "The regulations were based on Health and Safety Executive records... there are a low number of accidents in this area."

    At the inquest, Mr Bailie criticised the fact that no single teacher was identified as the clear leader of the walk.

    Mr Bailie told BBC News Online that river walking should be a comparably safe activity which helps to engender a sense of self value.

    "We must address this, but fatal accidents in adventure activities are unusual."

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    See also:

    08 Mar 02 | England
    Families' pain at accident verdict
    08 Mar 02 | Education
    Fresh school safety review pledged
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