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Jordan Lupton killed in freak jet ski accident in Herne Bay

By Gerry Warren

A 25-year-old man killed in a jet ski tragedy off Herne Bay was the victim of a "freak accident", a coroner has decided.

Jordon Lupton was being towed in a rubber ring behind a craft driven by his best friend when it collided with another jet ski.

It resulted in Mr Lupton, a plumber and keen sportsman from the town, suffering "unsurvivable" chest injuries, including 10 broken ribs.

Jordan Lupton was killed in a jet ski accident
Jordan Lupton was killed in a jet ski accident

The former St Anselm’s schoolboy was airlifted to King's College Hospital in London but never regained consciousness and his life support machine was turned off two days later, on May 29 last year.

An inquest heard today how the tragedy happened when a group of friends decided to go jet skiing at Hampton, which has a designated area for motorised craft.

Joshua Hammond, who was said to be an experienced jet skier, was Mr Lupton's best friend and offered to take him out for a fun ride being towed on the rubber ring.

He told the hearing that as he returned to shore in the safety lane, he decided to turn and give his friend one more ride at the same time as another friend, Billy Middleton, was leaving the shore to go out in another craft.

"I was already turning when Billy came out but I didn't think we would be anywhere near each other, " he said.

Asked by the coroner, Alan Blunsdon, whether he thought the manoeuvre was safe, he replied "yes".

But as Mr Hammond turned, the ring arced around behind him into the path of the oncoming jet ski.

Jordan Lupton was a keen boxer in his youth
Jordan Lupton was a keen boxer in his youth

Mr Middleton, who was driving the jet ski, told the hearing that he pulled to his left to avoid Mr Hammond's bike but could not avoid the ring carrying Mr Lupton.

"I had to turn and stop otherwise we might have hit each other," he said. "But there was nothing I could do - it was too late."

Mr Lupton, of Queen's Bridge Drive, ended up face down in the water after the collision and was quickly pulled out by his friends.

City council coastal development officer Tom Hawkins, who witnessed the collision, quickly got to the scene to help get Mr Lupton back to shore, where paramedics were soon on the scene.

He told the coroner he had not been concerned about the movements of the jet skis prior to the collision.

"I assumed they would pass each other," he said. "It was completely unexpected. I don't think you could recreate it."

A post-mortem revealed Mr Lupton had sustained multiple rib fractures, which pathologist Dr David Rouse said would have prevented him from breathing.

"The severity of the chest injuries alone were clearly fatal and not survivable, " he said.

He gave the cause of death as multiple injuries.

Concluding the death was an accident, Mr Blunsdon said there was "compelling" evidence from Mr Hawkins, who saw the whole incident, that neither of the jet skis were being driven recklessly and no one could have foreseen the accident.

He said they were simply young men enjoying a day at the beach, adding: "It was, I suppose to use the vernacular, a freak accident which claimed Jordan's life."

After the hearing, Mr Lupton's mother Therese Lupton said she and the family would campaign for greater jet ski regulations in a bid to improve safety.

She said: "There has to be something to prevent a tragedy like this happening again and I will be speaking to MP Sir Roger Gale to try and get his support.

"Perhaps it could be called something like Jordan's Law in his memory."

Motocross enthusiast Jordan Lupton was killed in a jet ski accident
Motocross enthusiast Jordan Lupton was killed in a jet ski accident

Following his tragic death, Mrs Lupton paid a moving tribute to her son, who was a keen motocross rider, mountain biker and rugby player.

In his younger years, he also boxed for clubs in Herne Bay and Whitstable and was captain of one of Whitstable Rugby Club’s junior teams.

“He loved having a go at everything and enjoyed keeping very fit,” said Mrs Lupton.

“He was a cheeky chap, always smiling and joking, who was car-mad and had two BMWs for which he was always buying bits.

“But there was nothing brash about him. He was a bit of a homebird who had no desire to travel. He was just happy enjoying himself with his mates."

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