Hereford & Worcester

Allen Green canal lock death an 'accident waiting to happen'

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Media captionMother of man who died saving her from sinking narrowboat speaks of her loss

The mother of a man who died after saving her from a sinking canal boat has said a gap in the lock gate was "an accident waiting to happen".

Jean Green said the Sonskit's rudder was "stuck in a gap" in a gate at lock five on the Droitwich Junction Canal.

Her son, Allen Green, 49, was trapped inside his boat as it sank.

The Canal & River Trust said it had examined the lock and could not find "anything wrong" with it, but would carry out a "full investigation".

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Allen Green was an experienced boater and lived on the narrowboat with his mother

Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Green said: "I've had a look at the boat now it's out of the water and there are marks on the rudder where it had stuck in a gap on the lock gates.

"That stopped it going up when they let the water in. It was an accident waiting to happen and it has happened."

Head rescue coordinator for the River Canal Rescue organisation, Pete Barnett, said the boat probably sank within two minutes.

When asked what may have caused the accident, Mr Barnett said: "That's down to a full investigation but in my opinion something has got jammed, held the boat down and filled it with water."

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Mr Green got his mother and dog off the boat before going back inside to salvage items, eyewitnesses said.

"We were shouting get out, get out and we got no answer," said Mrs Green. "Allen didn't come back out. It went down in no time."

Image caption The Sonskit sank at lock five on the Droitwich Junction Canal

Mrs Green, who said her son was "kind, helpful and intelligent", described how the tragedy unfolded.

"Allen came running to where I was and I said 'get out quick it's sinking.' I saw all this water coming in over the back end of the boat.

"Everything floating must have knocked him over. My feet were going underwater as somebody pulled me off."

Image caption The narrowboat was raised at about midday on Tuesday

Mrs Green said her son was "a very experienced boater". They lived aboard the Sonskit in Netherwich Basin, near Droitwich.

A Canal & River Trust spokesperson said it would carry out a full investigation to see what lessons could "be learnt to prevent a tragedy like this happening again".

The spokesperson said: "Incidents like this are extremely rare - our locks are used four million times a year, and we haven't seen a fatality of this kind since 1998. Nevertheless we'd appeal to even experienced boaters to take care when out on the canal."

West Mercia Police said there were no suspicious circumstances so it was not investigating.

Image copyright Google/Canal River Trust
Image caption Where The Sonskit sank can be seen in orange on a link route between the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the River Severn

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