Mum-of-three died after falling into water and getting trapped under her boat during Norfolk Broads holiday

A MUM-of-three died on holiday in Norfolk after falling into the water and becoming trapped under her boat, an inquest heard.

Laura Perry, 38, drowned and endured multiple injuries in the freak incident at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The tragic accident happened as she was cruising on her boat, while taking a "staycation" away from her home in Bermondsey, south east London.

She fell from the back of a 42ft long cruiser as it was being manoeuvred on the River Bure, Norfolk Coroners Court heard.

She was then trapped underwater when it reversed over her at 1.35pm on August 19 2020.

Police, firefighters, paramedics and coastguards all scrambled to her rescue in around 20 vehicles – along with lifeboats and an air ambulance.

A team of divers spent 90 minutes battling to release her body from under the boat.

However, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A worker on the Broads, who asked not to be named, said at the time of the tragedy: “I was told that the boat was trying to turn round in the river.

“It was a difficult manoeuvre and the boat bashed into another cruiser on the side of the river, causing some minor damage.

“Apparently the guy went into reverse to try and get out of trouble and the woman fell off the back so the boat went over her.”

The court heard on yesterday that she was an “incredibly caring” and devoted mother to her three sons aged four to 16.

In an online tribute, her family said : “She treasured her boys and embraced every minute spent with them on a multitude of trips, adventures, holidays and ‘memory-making'.

"She loved them and, their father, James Allen, very deeply.”

Her cruiser called Diamond Emblem had been hired from the Norfolk Broads holiday company, Ferry Marina, based at Horning.

A witness on another boat added at the time: “This guy crashed into the other boat and then he was heard saying he had lost power.

“A short while later he was parked further up the river and there were police everywhere. It is just a horrendous tragedy.”

Pathologist Dr Ray Lonsdale gave her cause of death as “multiple injuries and drowning due to or a consequence of entrapment beneath a boat following a fall into the water.”

The woman on the hire boat which was hit, said: “We had parked up an hour earlier and had gone in to Great Yarmouth so we did not see what happened.

“The water was fairly fast moving and there was a strong wind at the time. My heart goes out to the poor woman and her family.”

The incident led to a stretch of the River Bure being closed to boats, with a vessel further along telling people to turn back.

Police officers twice extended the cordon while the incident was under way telling onlookers with children to move away.

Lorin Robinson, 24, from Bristol, who was among the first on the scene and stopped to help with traffic management, said he was “shaken” by the tragedy.

The Ferry Marina website described the Diamond Emblem as “the dazzling damsel of our fleet featuring the highest capacity for passengers.”

It added: “The sleek design boasts an enormous sun deck and ample quarters for a total of ten people. Diamond is fully kitted out with all the mod cons you’d expect.”

A separate inquest at the same court last month heard how Simon Houlder, 29, died after being slashed by the propeller of his Norfolk Broads cruiser when friends pushed him into the water as a prank on September 15 near Great Yarmouth.

He was fatally injured in the River Bure after becoming "trapped in the propeller while trying to get back on board".

The Broads Authority’s chief executive John Packman issued a safety warning for boat users after the two deaths

He said: “We have experienced several accidents this year which have had terribly tragic consequences for those involved.

“As with any activity on the water, there are risks involved and to minimise these it is important that everyone follows safety advice for using the waterways.

“It is especially important for those that have not used a boat before.

“The Broads Authority will continue to work closely with hire companies to get these messages across effectively when customers pick up their boats and we will review how we can further improve this to prepare people for their experience on the Broads.”

Area coroner Yvonne Blake opened and adjourned the inquest until a full hearing on March 15 2021.

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