Investigation into Hartlepool fisherman's death found safety faults

An investigation in to the tragic death of a Hartlepool fisherman says some safety guidelines were not followed.

Thursday, 4th May 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:21 pm
Lee Renney.
Lee Renney.

A report into the death of Lee Renney, 22, highlighted several points, which might have prevented his accident from being fatal.

The young man died in September last year when his foot became entangled with ropes while he was setting fishing pots and he was dragged overboard and under the water.

A report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, published today, told how the skipper, his brother, risked his own life by jumping into the water in an attempt to save him.

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It concluded: “Lee Renney became fatally entangled when shooting pots because a safe method of working on deck was not being followed on board Pauline Mary.”

The investigators said safer pot shooting methods, where the crew and ropes are physically separated, could have been developed and - had he been carrying a knife - Lee might have been able to cut himself free.

It went on to say that Lee had not been wearing a life jacket, contrary to industry guidance, and it could have increased his chances of survival.

Investigators said the boat owner’s risk assessment had identifed the hazards of entanglement and being dragged overboard, but it had not been passed to the skipper.

The report said: “The skipper was not observing Lee’s work on the deck and did not witness the accident.

“Had the skipper been monitoring Lee more carefully, he might have foreseen the danger or at least reacted earlier to the emergency.”

They also said it was inappropriate to have passengers, particularly a child, on board during a fishing operation.

After Lee, who lived in Powlett Road, fell into the water, about half a mile from the Heugh Pier, a massive land and sea rescue operation was launched.

Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat crews were joined at the scene by an air ambulance and police, but despite being dragged back onto the boat, Lee could not be saved.