Recent Outdoor related death

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Jonny Briggs
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Recent Outdoor related death

Post by Jonny Briggs »

I was just wondering what peoples views were on the recent death of a school child under the care of Bewerley Park whilst caving.

Will it change outdoor rec?
Do you think there will be litigation or is this phase over?

The media will want someone to blame as they always do, or will this timethey acept that it was an accident?

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James F
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Post by James F »

Accident; sad and terrible, as they always are.

Kids die playing rugby, catching the school bus...

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AliceB
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Post by AliceB »

As sad as it is when a kid dies...these things happen (don't mean to sound cynical but that's the way it is).

Every time this sort of thing happens there's always the same debate...I think that this sort of thing should serve as a reminder of how important our jobs as outdoor instructors and teachers are and that safety is a top priority and should never be compromised.

To answer the thread after my little ramble there...No I don't think that there will be a huge effect. The government has not long published a paper stating how important residential and adventurous activities experiences are in a childs education...somehow I don't think the goverment is going to change it's mind...well until the next monkey's in charge that is!

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Post by AliceB »

Sorry guidebook...spelling and grammar are attrocious there!

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

Seems okay to me.

On the subject of the accident, it's hard to say what the official response will be.

But, I would argue that the effect of this sort of tragedy is more insidious than any government legislation could achieve...people hear of it through the media, they subconsciously store outdoor activities in their minds as something to fear and to protect their children from.

This accident was certainly terrible, but the current media coverage is imbalanced by definition. When was the last time you saw a headline along the lines of 'Hundreds of thousands of children safely took part in outdoor activities this year, and benefited from it to an extent that goes a long way beyond the quantifiable.'
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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

A good point and its one that we are all aware of,

The centre has a very good reputation with some of the best instructors working there, I was fortunate to do work experience and was shocked to hear of the death. Hopefully the centre will return to normal soon and my thoughts are with all the instructors and staff who will be going through a hellish time.

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Post by Paul Smith »

when did you do your work experience there?

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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

I did my work ex in june 2004, I went to Craven College doing Outdoor Sports, I enjoyed it there, and my friend (from Craven) is now a VI at Bewerley

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Post by mpooleman »

I would just like to add to ths point that I am an ex-student of the school in question and i personally went on this trip 4 years ago. As far as i was concerned, both the centre and the staff at the school did everything to ensure that safety was paramount on this trip. I know that the organiser is very experienced in organising school trips, and that the teacher from the school that supervised the group is experienced in the outdoors and has been on this trip numerous times in the past.

My point is that this is a tragic accident and my thoughts go out to the family of the boy, and anyone who knew him; however the trip in general is safe and as long as the investigation shows that no corners were cut etc in the planning and on the day of the trip, then it should be treated as just that - an accident.

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Post by Bertie.. »

What the general public forget is that for it too be such a newsworthy story it has to be an out-of-the ordinary event. The flip-side to this is the numbers of people that die travelling in cars who don't get reported.

The problem is that many people (often those who don't understand an activity) will act to prevent the out of the ordinary event, whilst at the same time not acting on the things that really are gonna get them.

In a way, the fact that there is such media attention should be seen as positively supporting/recognising the amount of work gone into keeping activity safe.

But it won't be...

the cheese boy
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Post by the cheese boy »

Well for the most part I have to agree with you guys, accidents happen, it's very tragic etc etc......
But this case comes down to very poor instructor judgement as far as I can tell. The incident occoured becasue the cave flooded rapidly due to being just a few feet from a river. Upstream of the cave (about 1/2 a mile) is a large resiviour, when it gets full they let lots of water out quite quickly, meaning that the caves just down stream flood suddenly and violently. All of the local centres know this, general policy is you drive upto the resiviour first and check the water level, if it's low then it's all good. If it's high go somewhere else, if its going to rain find a different cave.
As always, an incident like this with high media profile, stirs up all sort of problems for outdoor centres, Because either schools suddenly don't want to go caving, or concerned parents bombard schools, centres or anyone else involved with questions, complaints and queeries, or they send there kids off on trips with a note saying "My son/daughter can do anything EXCEPT go caving"
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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

The cheese boy what are you talking about,

The cave flooded because wind blew the water off the res into the cave, have you ever heard of that before and how can instructors predict this.

The instructors at Bewerley all do personal checks when arriving on site and the instructor who was running the session is one with a very good reputation.

"But this case comes down to very poor instructor judgement as far as I can tell"

Get your facts right

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Post by Bertie.. »

In my lien of work, we talk about expected events, unexpected events and catastrophic events. Expected events are self-explanatory, e.g. cuts, bruises, day to day things you're prepared to see happen bu really you'd like not to.

Unexpected events are those once in your lifetime events that you wished you'd thought about before it happened. Often these are the ones where hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Catstrophic events are those events which are just so rare that you'd have never have thought it through. Let's face it, who'd have thought that the world trade centre terrorists would have timed a second plane crashing into the building to maximise TV coverage.

This caving incident sounds like the latter if 'design crisis' is right about the wind blowing the water off the res into the cave. However, now it's happened, we can look at wind/weather conditions and make sure that it now becomes an unexpected event, but one which is recognised and addressed.

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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

Thats interesting, ive only heard of winds blowing water into caves in hypothetical situations, Ii was shocked that it actually happened

btw what line of work are you in

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. »

I'm an operational risk manager for a large building society, my role covers the assessment/measurement of risks as diverse as fraud, robbery, health & safety, legal compliance, business disruption, kidnap, process cockups - keeps me busy when I'm not out on the water...

the cheese boy
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Post by the cheese boy »

Surely the wind can only blow water out of the resiviour (and over the spillway) if it's high. As I said if your going into one of the caves below scarhouse res' you go and check the water level. You Only go in the caves if the water levels are low.
Either water level was high, therefore poor judgement in my opinion, or north yorkshire got struck by some VERY high winds that the rest of us missed.
cheese is for life, not just for christmas

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Grumpy Fisherman
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Post by Grumpy Fisherman »

design crisis wrote:Thats interesting, I've only heard of winds blowing water into caves in hypothetical situations, Ii was shocked that it actually happened
This is also what I heard about the incident. Some workmen in the area saw water being blown over the dam wall.

If it is the case, I find it hard to blame the instructor, as predicting this would have required him to predict something that has never previously happened and would never be coverered in any training programme. To think that wind could blow enough water over a dam to flood a cave is, to me, utterly incredible (and therefore surely unpredictable), and if an instructor were as jumpy as to stop an activity every time there were some strong winds, I think they would be swiftly told to get on with it.

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neilfarmer
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Post by neilfarmer »

the cheese boy wrote: it's very tragic etc etc......
But this case comes down to very poor instructor judgement as far as I can tell.
"Cheese Boy", I am a little concerned at your words.
The first part seems a little patronising.
The second slanderous.

It is not for us, without all the information to make that judgement, in a public forum on a professional person. (S)he is not here to defend themselves, thus making it doubly unfair. An 'enquiry' is set up to establish the facts and judge the situation. An experienced and very competent instructor is not likely to be perfect. Errors, omissions and mistakes can happen. These are 'adventure sports'.

I, personally, do not think that we should continue with the above sort of comments.
Neil Farmer.

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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

That is a good point, I started the post not to place blame but to get peoples opions about what would happen in the aftermath relating to the outdoors

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Andy_L
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Post by Andy_L »

The thing that worries me is caving may end up as bureaucratic as canoeing. Caving has a much less complicated coaching scheme than canoeing. The sport still has a very amateurish feel to it.

I am an active caver myself. Since I started the sport a year ago, there has been no mention of "star awards", "coaching schemes" or "leadership awards". You just get on with it and have good time. When you've got the experience you start leading - it's as simple as that (well not quite - there is a Cave Instructors award).

The only complication in recent times is that cavers in clubs need third party insurance. Only the British Caving Association offers this and they charge exorbitant prices
http://www.british-caving.org.uk/?page=2.

Andy

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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

Usually instructors are trained for sight specific locations in the caving leadership system, where all the possible dangers and hazards are outlined.

The leader usually also has a good knowledge of the cave, or this is what I have been lead to believe?

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mpooleman
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Post by mpooleman »

As I said before this a tragic accident, for which someone may be to blame, but there doesn't have to be anyeone to blame, and I hope their isn't. But the best way to everyone perfectly safe is to not do anything outside of schools in the first place, so there needs to be a balance.

We must trust that the investigation will uncover the truth about the events on that day, I know I have heard several accounts of what happened from people at home, on the trip etc.

Once again my thoughts go out to everyone who knew Joe Lister, the deceased, and I only hope that any lessons that can be learned from this are learnt.

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Post by MATT B »

RIP Joseph and my thoughts go to all family, friends and those who were involved in this awful tragedy.

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