Runaway boat killed toddler on tourist beach
I would like to thank you and your colleagues for the kindness shown to myself and my wife. I class myself as very fortunate to have met such kind and caring people.
The personal injury team at Alexander Harris are representing the family of a two year old boy who was killed when a runaway speedboat left the sea and ploughed into him on the beach at a Caribbean resort, an inquest was told yesterday.
Head of Department and the families lawyer Warren Collins is representing the family at the inquest.
The parents of Paul Gallagher want British police to investigate the death of their son, who was dozing on a sunlounger in the Bahamas resort of Atlantis, Paradise Island, near Nassau, when he was struck by the boat.
Paul and Andrea Gallagher were in tears yesterday as they relived the moment when Paul's head was split open by the propeller of the speedboat.
They are unhappy with the accidental death verdict recorded by a coroner in the Bahamas and believe that someone should be held responsible for what they believe to be the manslaughter of their child.
At Bromley Coroner's Court in South London, Mrs Gallagher, 39, from Orpington, told how she, her husband and their two other children, Heather, 7, and Andrew, 3, had gone to the resort in August 2002. She said that it was dubbed the "Wild West" because of the numbers of jet skis and boats in the waters.
She said that her family had been relaxing near a lifeguard tower on August 15 when a speedboat pulling an inflatable banana ride sped towards the sands. She said: "I heard a long blast on a whistle, turned my head to face towards the sea and as I turned around I saw a huge boat. It was up in the air above my head, 2ft from my head, coming straight at me. I threw myself forward, knowing that as I threw myself that this boat was going to run into my two sons. I knew that as I was jumping. It was too late, too late, it was just a reaction to throw myself on to the sand."
Mrs Gallagher said that as she picked herself up she rushed towards Paul, to find him surrounded by three American tourists who were medical professionals. Her husband had thrown their daughter, Heather, away from the boat and the infant Andrew, who was in a pushchair, had been knocked 15ft along the beach by the impact.
The family claim that the boat's owner, Sea and Ski Ocean Sports, had been involved in two earlier accidents on the island, in which a 27-year-old woman drowned and a boy lost his arm. David Melville, QC, for Kerzner International, owner of the resort, said the death had been a tragic accident.
Dr Palmer adjourned the hearing to consider evidence put before an inquest held in the Bahamas last year. He will return a verdict tomorrow.
The family's solicitor Warren Collins of Alexander Harris solicitors who will represent the family at the Inquest said: "The family have shown incredible determination despite the difficulties they have experienced dealing with the Bahamian authorities. On many occasions they have faced a wall of silence from those they have looked on for help and have had to uncover many of the facts surrounding the incident themselves."
"When someone is killed abroad in unusual circumstances and their body is brought back into English jurisdiction a Coroner must hold an Inquest. The circumstances of Paul's death are still surrounded in mystery. The Inquest will return a verdict on his cause of death."
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