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Family of Canterbury powerboat racer Kevin Edmondson want 'lessons to be learned' from his tragic death

The family of a powerboat racer killed in a tragic crash hope "lessons will be learned" from his death.

Horse trainer Kevin Edmondson, who ran Denstead Stud Farm at Chartham Hatch, died in a collision with another boat during a race near Bridport in Dorset last June.

An inquest last week heard harrowing details about the crash, with a coroner ruling it had been an accident.

Kevin Edmondson and his partner Annika Hawthorne (2768175)
Kevin Edmondson and his partner Annika Hawthorne (2768175)

But Mr Edmondson's family say it could have been avoided.

Speaking on the family's behalf after the hearing, Mark Humber-Kelly, said: "We are fully aware this was an accident but this is not the first time this kind of accident has happened and we would hate for it to happen to somebody else.

“We want lessons to be learnt. This could have been avoidable if lessons had been learned from previous instances.”

The inquest was told Mr Edmondson suffered fatal head injuries in the 80mph crash as his boat was being lapped by another competitor.

'This could have been avoidable if lessons had been learned from previous instances' - Mark Humber-Kelly

His partner and navigator, Annika Hawthorne, was knocked unconscious.

The hearing at Bournemouth Coroner's Court was told the race was organised by Offshore Circuit Racing (OCR) in what were described a perfect, calm conditions.

The Dorset Echo reported the account given by Bob McCarthy, whose boat collided with Mr Edmondson’s craft.

Mr McCarthy, who is chairman of OCR, said it happened on the final lap of the last race after Mr Edmondson's boat became "hooked" after passing a buoy.

Kevin Edmonson and Annika Hawthorne in a race (7112019)
Kevin Edmonson and Annika Hawthorne in a race (7112019)

He explained how Mr Edmondson's craft lost control, similar to a rear-end skid in motor racing, which was most likely due to a wave or his boat getting into a trough.

Mr McCarthy’s co-pilot Jamie Stickler said: "As we came into the turn it was very much what I would describe as a textbook turn. Kevin moved over. We went to go on the inside, but as we were coming out of the turn there was still enough room to fit another boat or so in between us.

"Suddenly. I saw Kevin's boat violently hooked to the left. I said to Bob 'he's hooked' and the next thing I know we were going through the air."

In saying lessons could have been learned from previous accidents, Mr Edmondson's family cited the example of another racer who died when two boats collided in Dover harbour during a powerboat event at the town's Regatta in 2009.

But assistant coroner Deborah Rookes said she was satisfied all the appropriate safety procedures were put in place by the race organisers in Dorset.

'Our sport and lives have lost a huge character' - Brett Croxson

She added that drivers were aware they were participating in a "dangerous" sport, and that both racers were experienced and familiar with the course.

After the hearing, race manager Steve Oaten said the circumstances surrounding the accident were not unique to OCR.

He said: "The sport as a whole is constantly looking for ways to reduce a ‘hook’ along with any other measures to improve safety and this incident is a strong reminder that we should continue to do so."

Mr Edmonson, who was an avid West Ham fan and popular member of Herne Bay Power Boat Club, had two daughters, Kadee and Demi, who described their dad as "one in a million".

Kevin and Annika started powerboat racing around six years ago and won many competitions around the UK and Europe.

Friend of 30 years and fellow racer Brett Croxson said: "Our sport and lives have lost a huge character."

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