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Lyme Regis Dorset 20-year-old died when her electric wheelchair rolled off the Cobb wall and into the sea

Date
08/10/2011
What Happened
Abandoned
What Caused
Adverse environmental conditions
Casualty type/Qty
Casualty
Gender
Male
Causal Factors
Inadequate supervision
Injury Details
Drowning
Outcome
Accident suspected
Alcohol/Drugs
N/A

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Description of Incident
A severely disabled woman has died after she fell into the sea on the Dorset coast while strapped into her electric wheelchair.

The woman, aged 20 and from Solihull in the West Midlands, sank to the bottom of the harbour at Lyme Regis when her wheelchair rolled off the wall, Dorset Police said.

Police, paramedics and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) were called to the incident shortly before 1pm on Friday.

Her family, the boat skipper and RNLI personnel from the nearby lifeboat station dived in and managed to free her, taking her unconscious to the surface.

She was flown by air ambulance to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester but later died.

Dorset Police have launched an investigation and are appealing for witnesses to the incident on the 19th-century harbour wall, known as the Cobb, which features in Jane Austen's Persuasion and John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman.

A police spokesman said: "They were on holiday in Lyme Regis and were waiting to go on a charter boat trip when tragically the wheelchair fell into deep water.

"Rescue efforts were made by the family, the boat skipper and later by emergency services, including coastguards, lifeboat and police. After considerable difficulty, she was able to be freed."
Supporting Information
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/08/disabled-woman-drowns-dorset

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