Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 17:29 UK

Lincolnshire student fell 1,000ft, inquest told

Picos de Europa
Andrew Lucas was on a walking holiday when he fell into the gorge

A 17-year-old student fell 1,000ft (305m) to his death after he wandered away from his group during a mountain trek in Spain, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Lucas of Louth, Lincolnshire, was on a walking expedition in the Picos de Europa mountain range, 150 miles north of Madrid, last July.

The trip had been organised by the Brathay Exploration Group.

The inquest in Skegness was told the trip originally failed to get approval from the Young Explorers Trust (YET).

Skegness Magistrates' Court heard the group originally did not have leaders with the right qualifications and there had been concerns over familiarity with the location.

Alarm raised

The trip was later approved after an experienced leader joined the group, but the inquest heard tragedy struck on the third day of the trip.

Leader Miles Doughty told the inquest they had set up camp at the Refugio Collado Jermoso on the night of July 30.

He said he found a safe place for the group's seven members and three leaders to go to the toilet, while colleague Jon Hannaway found a place for them to pitch their tents.

After a meal at the refuge the group decided to watch the sunset from a viewing point but Andrew was not in his tent, Mr Doughty said. The inquest heard they assumed he was using the toilet.

A group of Spanish tourists showed them a photograph of what they thought was a woman who had fallen down the sheer drop, but it was only when they got back to their tents to find Andrew missing that the alarm was raised.

Members from the refuge found his body where it had fallen and it was recovered later by the Civil Guard, the inquest heard.

The inquest continues.



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