‘Safety of sand yachting must be improved’

Sand yachts and (below) Carole Cruz who died in 2002 in an incident on St Annes beach.
Sand yachts and (below) Carole Cruz who died in 2002 in an incident on St Annes beach.
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The parents of a woman who died after being struck by a racing sand yacht say safety must be improved before the sport returns to the Fylde coast.

Sand yachting was banned on St Annes beach after Carole Cruz was hit during the Fylde International Sand Yacht Club’s two-day regatta in 2002.

Carole Cruz who died in 2002 in a sand yachting incident on St Annes beach.

Carole Cruz who died in 2002 in a sand yachting incident on St Annes beach.

But Fylde Council has now agreed to lift the ban on wind sports as long as strict safety standards are met.

Mrs Cruz’s parents, Andrew and Sheila Ewens, called for the ban 10 years ago until safety improvements were made.

Mr Ewens, 69, said: “We have no problem with the sport at all. At the time we thought the safety arrangements were not in place properly, and we still think that way. Back then there were quite a few people complaining about safety.”

Mr Ewens said his daughter, a 38-year-old mother of two boys who were on the beach at the time of the accident, was at the seaside for a couple of hours before the sand yacht race started.

He said a marshall who was monitoring the beach got called to see to a broken sand yacht.
“Our daughter was starting to walk back when all of a sudden this race had started and she got caught up in it,” he said.

“At the trial she was made out as a silly girl who walked into a race, but it didn’t happen that way.”

The couple, of Rosehill in Burnley, say the beach should be closed off during races, and more marshals to keep the public away.

Mr Ewens added: “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens once the sport restarts, but it’s got to be better than it was.

“The fact that safety has had to be improved for the ban to be lifted must mean there was a lack of safety in the first place.”

Sand yacht pilot Adrian Warren of Doncaster was cleared by a jury of manslaughter in 2004.

Fylde Council has imposed a number of strict safety conditions, including:

> Wind sports can only take place 200 meters from the tide line and 200 meters from the sand dunes

> Full-size sand yachts are prohibited; smaller vehicles such as mini yachts, kite buggies and kiteboards are permitted

> A safety plan must be in place

> Marshals will wear high-visibility jackets and carry radios, red flags and first aid kits. They will patrol the coned areas of the beach while activities are taking place and, while they cannot prevent members of the public from walking through they can escort them about the race area safely

> Wind sports activites will take place in daylight hours

> The sport will be monitored for its impact on local wildlife, which will be presented to Natural England

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