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Video showing the moment a speedboat crashed into a 15-foot buoy killing a 15-year-old schoolgirl has been shown in court.
Emily Lewis, 15, suffered fatal injuries after a rigid inflatable boat she was a passenger on collided with a 4.5 metre high buoy while travelling at 42mph in Southampton Water.
A 57-second clip of the collision was shown to the jury in the trial of the boat's skipper Michael Lawrence, 55, who is accused of manslaughter by gross negligence, failing to maintain a proper lookout and failing to proceed at a safe speed.
Michael Howley, 52, the owner of Seadogz, the company which operated the boat trip, is accused of not operating the boat safely. Both deny the charges.
In the clip shown to the court, the boat can be seen heading straight at the buoy before hitting it – causing a collision that threw passengers overboard and left them with broken bones.
It resulted in the tragic death of 15-year-old Emily Lewis, who suffered fatal injuries on the craft at around 10am on August 22, 2020.
She was taken to Southampton General Hospital where she later died from catastrophic chest injuries.
Emily, who had been on board the boat with her mother Nikki, father Simon and older sister Amy, then 18, was among 11 people taken to hospital after the crash.
In footage shown to the court, the woman filming the incident, who was on a passing ferry, can be heard to say: “Oh my god, someone’s gone over, I think someone’s gone over, yes, people have gone off, there are people in the water, they went right over the front. My God.”
Giving evidence at the trial, paramedic Megan Hunt, who attended Ocean Village in Southampton, after the passengers had been brought ashore, said that Lawrence had told her his face mask had blown up and blocked his vision prior to the crash.
She told the court he was “clearly in shock with his head in his hands”.
“Mr Lawrence told me he was driving the boat and the wind blew up in his face and it blew his visor and face mask up obstructing his view, I guess covering his eyes.
“By the time he put it in place, the buoy was too close to them and he had no time to turn the boat.”
She told the court that Mr Lawrence wore a face mask because he was doing the shopping for his parents who were shielding at that time.
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Miss Hunt told the court that Lawrence had suffered an injury to his knee during the collision.
Duncan Christie, a marine officer for Associated British Ports, gave evidence and said he was alerted to the incident then arrived at the boat to find Mr Lawrence "very distressed and in panic".
"The Covid mask had gone up over his face, the wind had blown it up and covered his eyes," he told the court.
He said that Lawrence had told him “several times” that this had happened prior to the crash.
Mr Christie, who had also worked for Seadogz and who had known Lawrence since 1996 from their work with the RNLI, described Lawrence as a “competent mariner”.
When asked by Lawrence’s counsel, Karim Khalil KC, if Lawrence was a “safe pair of hands” whom you could “totally rely on” and who was popular in the RNLI community, Mr Christie agreed and said he “certainly was”.
Mr Lawrence, of Blackfield, New Forest, and Mr Howley, of Hordle, New Forest, deny the charges and the trial continues.
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