Narrative Verdict Recorded After Two Day Hearing
A devastated husband who saw his wife die in a boat accident on their Thai honeymoon has expressed hope that lessons are learnt following an inquest was held into the boat accident.
Monica O’Connor from Sale, Cheshire, died when the vessel, carrying 32 tourists and four crew members from Ang Thong Marine Park to Koh Samui, was capsized by a large wave. The 28-year-old became trapped under the boat and drowned, along with four others.
Monica travelled to Thailand on May 23, 2016 for her honeymoon, with husband Tim, to Koh Samui and booked the excursion to Ang Thong Marine Park for two days later. However, due to poor weather conditions the trip was postponed until May 26, 2016.
The Press Association reported that the two-day hearing at South Manchester Coroner's Court heard they were among 32 tourists on the boat when it capsized after being hit by a wave as it returned from a day-long tour on May 26 2016.
The inquest heard from Monica O’Connor’s widower Tim, Mrs Puja Parnell, the widow of another victim Jason Parnell, Trailfinders, the company Tim and Monica booked their honeymoon with, and Kuoni, the company with which the Parnells booked their holiday.
The inquest was told a warning had been issued by Thailand's meteorological department warning small boats not to sail out to sea due to a monsoon.
Boat captain Sanan Sridakeow and operator Limited Partnership Angthong Discovery Tour both admitted offences including causing death due to recklessness at Koh Samui Provincial Court last September.
On Tuesday, senior coroner for South Manchester Alison Mutch recorded a narrative verdict into the deaths.
She said: "They died as a result of drowning, contributed to by the decision to operate the tour when a known weather warning was in force, prohibiting small boats from sailing out to sea from May 24 to 27 2016."
Ms Mutch said no safety briefing was provided to passengers on board, there was no individual allocation of life jackets to each passenger and a decision was made to sail the boat too close to the shore.
Specialist International Personal Injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell were instructed by Tim following Monica’s death to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death. Following the conclusion of this inquest, they have revealed their determination to help Tim get the justice.
Daniel Matchett, solicitor and expert international personal injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell, representing Tim, said:
Expert Opinion“Monica’s death was tragic and is still deeply upsetting for Tim. The inquest has answered some questions but we will now work with him to get justice regarding Monica’s death.
“It’s of paramount importance that the findings of this inquest are noted and that the lessons are learned to ensure the safety of others on similar boat trips in future.” Daniel Matchett - Solicitor
Tim O’Connor, 31 from Sale, said: “Going through the inquest process has been incredibly difficult, particularly with the findings outlining just how Monica’s death could and perhaps should have been prevented.
“I miss her more each day and ultimately nothing is ever going to bring her back.
“My hope now is that the appropriate lessons can be learned from today’s findings to ensure no one else has to suffer the heartache and pain of losing a loved one when it could be prevented.”
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in holiday accident claims.