Monday, 22. December 2014
25. 11. 12. - 14:00
The manslaughter case in Austria over the death of a British soldier drowned during a rafting accident has ended with the raft guide accused of negligence being acquitted.
Private John Lomas, of the Royal Logistics Corps, was with comrades in Tirol when his inflatable raft boat capsized on June 21.
Three rafts, carrying a total of 20 British servicemen, had embarked down the Inn river.
Shortly after leaving the launching station at Fließ, one of the boats was capsized by a wave – tipping its occupants into the fast-flowing water.
Pte Lomas, aged 22, of Meir, lost his grip on the raft and was swept away by the current. His body was reportedly found two miles away.
Four other soldiers were rescued and another two scrambled to safety.
Prosecutors accused the 33-year-old guide of manslaughter saying he had made a succession of errors that were reckless and showed no consideration for the lives of those in his care.
The man, not named for legal reasons, denied the allegations.
The court case centred around how comprehensive the security advice was before the group set off. The guide said that he had told people how to behave and what to do in an emergency.
The British servicemen that were in the boat that had turned over confirmed they had been given instructions in English, at which point the victim had said that he wasn't a very good swimmer despite the fact that he had managed to pass a swimming test earlier in the year which was compulsory in the British Army.
The guide said he had offered the man who later died the chance to stay on the banks of the river but the had declined. Instead he decided to sit next to the guide in the boat.
Although the river was at a high level the guide said that it was actually easier to travel along when the water levels were high. The court also heard that in Tirol in contrast to other provinces in Austria there was no requirement for the rafting group to do any practice in easy water before setting off to the more turbulent parts of the river.
The court also heard that the water levels had not been excessive when they set off and that the water had not been the muddy colour it turned shortly after when water from a reservoir released arrived as a huge wave. Although the local fisheries had been warned the electicity firm that operated the damn had not told the rafting company.
The three British army soldier witnesses confirmed that the security talk had been comprehensive and everything had been covered.
Judge Norbert Hofer told the man "It is clear that you were travelling correctly in the boat although the speed was a bit slow although you cannot be responsible for that. According to my opinion I don't think you could have done anything differently."
The court also heard that every guide makes a personal decision based on the crew and the fact that all of those on board were soldiers from the British army and were therefore physically fit and healthy and would follow orders quickly meant that the guide had decided there was not likely to be any excessive problems.
About 100,000 tourists a year take advantage of rafting trips in the Austrian province of Tirol - and local tourism officials maintain strict safety standards with regular inspections of the boats.
Marcel Pachler, who is in charge of the local Tyrol rafting Association, said that the route had a danger rating between three and four out of a possible six which would be the maximum.
The prosecution is considering whether to appeal the decision.
Ebola's deadly reach impacts Vienna student
Austria has yet to record its first case of Ebola, but the feared virus has already had a severe impact on the lives of Africans living in Vienna.
Grigorij Sokolov Works His Magic At Vienna Konzerthaus
Whilst the world-famous Wizard of Oz played at the Volksoper, there was another Wizard in the Konzerthaus giving his 16th performance in Vienna!
Penelope Cruz To Play The Ice Cream Killer
The memoirs of the woman dubbed the Ice Cream Killer after she shot dead two ex-lovers before hacking the bodies up with a chainsaw and telling neighbours the noise was a new ice cream machine are due to be turned into a blockbuster with Penelope Cruz playing the lead role.
Kid Left In Coma After Beaten By Teacher For Talking
This is the shocking image of a little Chinese girl before and after she was punished by her teacher - for talking in class.
Freezing Rain Causes Chaos In Central Europe
Freezing weather has arrived in Europe with a vengeance with a layer of ice blanketing parts of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic and causing traffic chaos.
Holey Smoke As Car Disappears Down Sinkhole
Motorist Wei Hsiao found himself in a hole lot of trouble in China when a giant sinkhole opened up on the road beneath him, swallowing his entire car.
Shock Moment Police Helicopter Explodes On Street
This is the moment a police helicopter exploded into a spinning ball of flame in Chile when a fire truck clipped one of its rotors.
More Than Twenty 100,000 GBP Motors Used In Bridal Convoy
A Chinese couple who wanted to have the most expensive wedding convoy possible arranged for a convoy of top of the range cars including a stretch Hummer followed by Lamborghinis, Porsches and other VIP motors.
Riot Police Star In Downs Syndrome Calendar
Spanish riot police have joined forces with Down's syndrome kids to take part in a special calendar for charity.
Chinese Nuclear Winter Smog Leaves Clinics Full
Fresh proof of Chinese scientists' claims that the country's toxic air pollution resembles a nuclear winter are shown by these images that show clinics and hospitals packed with patients suffering with trouble breathing.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|UN Security Expert Says One Jihad Poster Girl Is Dead|
|Ebola's deadly reach impacts Vienna student|
|Russian Cops Beat Man To A Pulp In Front Of Children|
|Porsche Driver Crushed After Ploughing Into Lorry|
|Grigorij Sokolov Works His Magic At Vienna Konzerthaus|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.