Fw: CORONER URGES TIGHTER RULES AFTER SCOUT DEATH PLUNGE
Roger C Phillips (rogerphillips@LINEONE.NET)
Tue, 4 Aug 1998 18:01:44 +0100
Thought the Group may be interested to read this account in our recent news.
I don't get lost in the Hills eehm just mislaid
From: Scouts@Autonomy.lineone.net <Scouts@Autonomy.lineone.net>
Date: 04 August 1998 17:26
Subject: CORONER URGES TIGHTER RULES AFTER SCOUT DEATH PLUNGE
>CORONER URGES TIGHTER RULES AFTER SCOUT DEATH PLUNGE
>04 August 1998 18:01
>A Coroner today called for stricter guidelines for Scouting adventure
>activities after hearing how an 11-year-old boy plunged 60 feet
>to his death on a walk at a weekend camp.
>Scott Fanning slipped and fell into a ravine after a volunteer
>helper in charge of 11 boys missed a footpath turning and led
>the party onto a dangerous slope.
>The inquest in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, heard that Scott,
>from Chadderton, Oldham, had not been given clear directions
>by helper Peter McPhillips, 27, after he had realised he had
>taken the boys the wrong way.
>And North Manchester Coroner Barrie Williams said Mr McPhillips,
>who had had no recent training, could have been in breach of
>existing guidelines covering the number of adults supervising
>children on such activities.
>A verdict of accidental death was recorded on Scott, of the St
>Herbert's Chadderton troop, who died of severe head injuries
>after falling onto rocks in a shallow river bed near the Ashworth
>Valley Scout Camp at Heywood, where 600 boys were celebrating
>the 90th anniversary of the movement.
>Mr McPhillips told the hearing that he had taken the party of
>boys on a walk before breakfast at the camp in May on a route
>he had covered before.
>But he missed the turning as he led them up a slope to finish
>on an unofficial path on the side of the gorge, some 30 yards
>below the recognised public footpath.
>The footpath ran out on the slope and he decided it was dangerous
>to go any further.
>Instead he ordered the boys to climb up the slope to the public
>footpath above them.
>"I knew I was going to have a problem with one lad and I had
>to help him up," he said. "I then saw Scott out of the corner
>of my eye. Instead of going straight up he had gone round the
>gap in the path to the other side.
>"The next thing I saw him sliding down the loose scree slope
>like a child on a slide, feet first and obviously trying to stop
>himself. Then he went over the edge."
>Mr McPhillips said he knew guidelines said the ratio of children
>to adults for a Scouting activity was 15-1, and six or seven
>to one for a hike.
>"I thought I was within the guidelines," he said. "I had the
>figure of 15-1 fixed in my mind."
>He agreed he had got into a situation that "cried out for more
>help" and said that he could have asked one of four qualified
>Scout leaders with the group to go with them on the walk.
>The Coroner said many of the problems could have been foreseen
>with "more planning and foresight".
>"Scott was not disobeying any directions. But he had not been
>given clear indications about what was expected of him," said
>He would be writing to the Scout movement calling for:
>A clearer definition of qualifications and training for those
>supervising Scouts on walks;
>A clear definition of the ratio of leaders to children, particularly
>with regard to the age of the youngsters;
>The checking of walks beforehand, having regard to the age and
>abilities of the children involved.
>The Scout's field commissioner for the North West of England,
>Chris Maxted, said after the hearing: "Quite obviously we will
>take these recommendations on board.
>"But Scouting by its nature involves young people taking part
>in adventurous activities. There is always the danger that normally
>active young people are going to be constrained to such an extent
>that they never move outside there front door.
>"Given the circumstances of the day we would not accuse Mr McPhillips
>of being careless. He actually had the common sense to say he
>would go with the boys when they were going for a walk for half-an-hour
>"It is not clear whether he was in breach of the guidelines over
>the number of leaders."
>Scott's parents Alan, himself a Scout helper, and Sharon, left
>without comment. Their lawyer Paul Mulderrig said they were still
>"devastated" by their son's death and would be considering the
>1998 Press Association
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City