MAIB Safety Bulletin 1/2013 – Milly

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is carrying out an investigation into the ejection of a family of six from a RHIB on 5 May 2013. The unmanned RHIB subsequently executed a series of tight high speed turns, running over members of the family in the water, causing two fatalities and serious injuries to two people.

MAIB Safety Bulletin 1/2013 – Milly
Incident date: 05 May 2013
Category: Leisure
Summary: Ejection of family of six from an 8.0m RHIB in the Camel Estuary leading to two fatalities and serious injuries to two people. Issued May 2013

At this early stage in the investigation, the mechanism that led to the family being ejected from the RHIB into the water, is not clear. At approximately 1549 (BST) on Sunday 5 May 2013 a family of two adults and four children were ejected from their 8.0m rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) into the water. They were manoeuvring the boat at speed in the Camel Estuary near Padstow, Cornwall, UK.

The RHIB was fitted with a kill cord, but this was not attached to the driver at the time of the accident. Consequently, when the driver was ejected from the boat, the kill cord did not operate to stop the engine and the RHIB continued to circle out of control, at speed. As the RHIB circled, it ran over the family in the water a number of times, leading to the death of the father and the 8 year old daughter and serious injuries to the mother and the 4 year old son.

The kill cord serves only one purpose, to stop the engine when the driver moves away from the controls. To ensure that this tragic accident is not repeated it is essential that all owners and operators of vessels fitted with kill cords:
1. Test them regularly to ensure that the engine stops when the kill cord mechanism is operated.
2. Make sure that the cord is in good condition – not frayed.
3. Always attach the cord securely to the driver, ideally before the engine is started, but certainly before the boat is put in gear.
4. Stop the engine before transferring the kill cord to another driver.

Further information regarding the use of kill cords can be found at
Advice and information on Kill Cords from the RYA website:

Download report: SB1_13.pdf (675.37 kb)