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Coroner criticises kayaker death trip

A coroner has criticised a kayaking trip off the Anglesey coast which ended with the death of a 53-year-old woman.

Elizabeth Ashbee

Elizabeth Ashbee died after becoming separated from friends during the trip (Photo: HM Coastguard)

Elizabeth Ashbee, an environmental engineer, of Underdale, Shrewsbury, and also an experienced kayaker, drowned at the end of August after becoming separated from a group of kayakers.

An inquest at Llangefni was told that she was with members of Shrewsbury Canoe Club although the trip when she vanished was described as one involving a group of friends rather than a club activity.

Several kayakers had paddled out of a sheltered bay near Rhoscolyn but the journey went wrong when one capsized as the sea became rougher, and lost his paddle.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones said the party made the mistake of going towards rocky Rhoscolyn Beacon. “The decision to go to the beacon wasn’t a wise one,” he remarked. “The wind especially swept them south.”

The coroner questioned the planning and qualifications of the kayakers. He also pointed out that they had no method of communication or flares to alert emergency services to their difficulties.

“I’m hoping what I’ve said will mean other groups are better equipped and better plan their activities.

“But I say similar things all too often with mountaineering incidents and they don’t reduce in number,” he added.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

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