Mum killed by propeller after being knocked overboard when boat bumped into wall

A mum-of-three was killed by the propeller of her rental boat after being flung overboard when the vessel bumped into a river wall, a report has revealed.

Laura Perry, 38, was on her family’s 42ft-long rental boat when it smashed into the wall as the driver tried to turn it around.

The force flung Mrs Perry into the River Bure, where she was “caught” in the boat’s propeller.

Tributes after her death said Laura was an “incredibly caring” mum who “treasured” her kids.

In an online post, 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.”

Laura, from Bermondsey, south east London, was with eight family members on the boat during a Norfolk Broads holiday on August 19 last year.

The tragic death happened after the family tried mooring the rental boat at the Great Yarmouth Yacht Station but found it was full.

The findings come as part of an interim report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) in preparation for a full inquest at a later date.

As they tried turning the boat, the stern made “hard contact with the embankment wall” opposite the yacht station.

Laura was knocked in the water where, “she was caught in the propeller and fatally injured,” the report said.

“At the time of the accident, the motor cruiser was being manoeuvred to stop and turn in the river.”

The MAIB have called for more measures to ensure safety for people hiring boats.

The report says boat standards are being reviewed to see if more safety measures need to be installed on the boats.

The authority added they have looked into how hirers handle the vessels, and how instructions are provided when someone turns up to rent one.

Laura’s family said she was an “incredibly caring” mum and devoted to her three sons, who are between the ages of four and 16.

The grieving family told Norfolk Coroner’s Court Laura’s job was a “full time mother”.

Pathologist Dr Ray Lonsdale said Laura died from “multiple injuries and drowning due to or a consequence of entrapment beneath a boat following a fall into the water.”

Twenty vehicles containing emergency crews rushed to the scene of Laura’s death, with lifeboats coming by water and an air ambulance descending from above.

The cruiser, the Diamond Emblem 1, was hired to the family by Ferry Marina company based at Horning.

It’s described online 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 stretch of the river was closed to boats for several hours, and onlookers with children were advised not to look and to move from the area.

Last December a similar case was heard at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, following Simon Houlder, 29, was fatally injured in the River Bure after a friend pushed him from a boat into the water as a prank on September 15 near Great Yarmouth.

Simon was “trapped in the propeller while trying to get back on board”.

Broads Authority’s chief executive John Packman has issued a safety warning after both “tragic deaths”.

He added: “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.”