George Partridge: MoD admits safety breaches in diving death

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image captionL/Cpl George Partridge died during the diving exercise two years ago

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Health and safety rules were breached when a soldier died under the care of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

L/Cpl George Partridge ran out of air during a diving exercise at the National Dive Centre in Tidenham.

Health and safety inspector Julian Tuvey said: “Just like any other employer, the MoD has a responsibility to reduce dangers to its personnel, as far as they properly can.”

Two Crown Improvement Notices have been issued to the MoD by the watchdog.

The MOD said its “thoughts and sympathies” remain with L/Cpl Partridge’s family and friends.

“The scenario of a diver running out of air is a very real risk that needs to managed,” Mr Tuvey said.

george partridge mod admits safety breaches in diving death - George Partridge: MoD admits safety breaches in diving death
image captionThe National Diving and Activity Centre is a large flooded quarry at Tidenham, Gloucestershire

The soldier, of 26 Engineer Regiment in Wiltshire, died at Gloucestershire quarry on 26 March 2018 despite attempts to revive him.

He and his “dive buddy” were tasked with attaching a line to the underwater wreck of a helicopter at a depth of 89ft (27m). When he was recovered his air cylinders were found to be empty.

The two improvement notices relate to the failure to train all army divers how to undertake air endurance calculations and to assess the risk of a diver running out of air.

The MoD admitted breaching its duty on 2 September when the the Health and Safety Executive issued the department with a Crown Censure – the maximum sanction for a government body..

A five day jury inquest into the L/Cpl’s death due to be held earlier this year has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Previously his family claimed he was a victim of ‘systemic failures’ in safety precautions by the military.

A MOD spokesperson said: “The Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy take the safety of our personnel extremely seriously and co-operated fully with the civilian police and Health and Safety Executive investigations to fully understand the circumstances of this tragedy, which we will learn fully from.”

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