Wandsworth Family Speedboat Tragedy: Official Report

Fast turn led to death of Nick Milligan and his daughter

The Wandsworth TV Sky TV executive who was killed in a speedboat accident in Cornwall last May, had executed "an exceptionally unusual" tight turn moments before the crash.

An investigative report from the government's Maritime Accident Investigative Branch (MAIB) this week revelealed that the Milligans did not have a "good understanding" of how the boat would perform in a high powered turn.

Mr Milligan, 51, and his eight year old daughter died when the boat circled out of control and the whole family were thrown into the sea. His wife, Victoria, 39 and four year old son Kit, suffered severe leg injuries, while his two older daughters survived with minor injuries.

It is thought that Mrs Milligan had taken over the steering off the speedboat just before the accident and that Mr Milligan had lent over to take the helm as she attempted to turn the boat.

The boat then "immediately accelerated and heeled into the turn and then suddenly and violently rolled back to port and ejected all its occupants out over the port side and into the water."

At this point the boat's kill cord, which immediately stops the engine in an accident, was still attached to Mr Milligan rather than his wife, which resulted in the boat continuing to circle in the water and strike several family members.

MAIB chief inspector Steve Clinch said a kill cord attached to the person at the wheel was an "essential item of safety equipment". He added that this was "a tragic accident" from which he hoped lessons would be learned.

February 4, 2014