People who drowned in boat capsize were ‘strapped in wheelchairs’ says source

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has opened an investigation into a tragic accident that occurred at Roadford Lake near Okehampton, Devon.

Two bodies were found following a large-scale search for missing boaters who were reportedly ‘strapped into wheelchairs’, according to a Metro source, when their vessel capsized on Wednesday (8June22).

Six people were in the boat when it overturned, with four rescued and sent to hospital for further treatment. One person remains in Derriford Hospital in critical condition.

All of those on the boat were adults and believed to be local to Devon.

MAIB has declined to comment on media reports stating the victims were in wheelchairs, or if investigators would seek to establish whether they were strapped into the boat or were wearing buoyancy aids.

“Our investigation is in its early stages and our current focus is on gathering as much evidence as possible. This will include everything from the events on the day through to the boat’s design and construction,” says a MAIB spokesperson.

“We are carrying out a safety investigation that will seek to establish the circumstances and causes of the accident and identify ways of preventing a similar accident occurring in the future.”

Chief Superintendent Dan Evans says: “This is an extremely distressing incident and our thoughts are with all of those involved and their loved ones, who we are working closely with to offer help and support wherever we can.

“Tragically, we can confirm that the bodies of two people were located and recovered this afternoon. Our priority is to support their families.”

The 730-acre (1.9 square mile) Roadford Lake has been a reservoir since 1989 and supplies water to Plymouth and other parts of south Devon. It is often used for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing.

South West Lakes Trust, which runs Roadford Lake, said its on-site activity centre would be closed until further notice.

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