The Abernethy Trust have been criticised by a Sheriff at a Fatal Accident Inquiry for failing to prevent the death of a teenager attending one of their activity centres.
Laura McDairmant died from severe head and neck injuries in July 2006 after jumping into a rock pool and missing the water, hitting rocks instead. She was 15 years old. The accident happened at the Trust's Barcaple Outdoor Centre in Dumfries and Galloway.
At the Fatal Accident Inquiry, Sheriff Johanna Johnston QC, hearing the case, called for a review into legislation governing activity centres. She also said that it "would be in the public interest for the Health and Safety Executive to consider in the review, the training and qualifications of all those who are engaged in the provision of adventure activities."
Current rules governing centres such as Barcaple are set out in the Activity Centres (Young Persons’ Safety) Act 1995. The Adventure Activities Licensing Authority arose from the act, but the Authority does not cover the activity of gorge jumping.
Sheriff Johnston found that the pool used was not suitable for the activity of gorge jumping and that the staff managing the centre had not carried out a proper risk assessment. The Trust was fined £16,000 in October 2008 for failing to prevent the accident.
The Abernethy Trust is reported to have accepted the findings in the Fatal Accident Inquiry.
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