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Boat Owner 'Aware of Poor Wiring' Before Drowning Tragedy

7th March 2011
Boat Owner 'Aware of Poor Wiring' Before Drowning Tragedy
Problems with electrical wiring had been alerted to a retired mariner who drowned along with two friends after abandoning their boat due to a fire, an inquest into the tragedy has heard.
Wolfgang Schmidt (70), Richard Harmon (69) and Wolfgang Schröder (62) all died from drowning near Adrigole Harbour in Bantry Bay on 16 August 2010 after a fire broke out on Schmidt's boat during an angling trip.
The Irish Times reports that shipwright John Murphy told the inquest that he undertook repairs to the engines and fuel tank of the small cruiser in May 2010.
He said he expressed concerns about the state of the boat's wiring to Schmidt, who told him he planned to sell the boat later in the year and would return to him to tidy the wiring before then.
The inquest heard that the wiring was connected directly to the battery without an isolation switch or fuse board, which had compounded the problem when fire broke out and made the vessel unrecoverable.
Lone survivor Ed Dziato (47) told how they had twice tried to put out the fire with a powder extinguisher but both times the flames shot back up. They were unable to reach the lifejackets stored forward of the wheelhouse, which was quickly engulfed by flames.
In all three cases the coroner returned verdicts of accidental death due to drowning.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Problems with electrical wiring had been alerted to a retired mariner who drowned along with two friends after abandoning their boat due to a fire, an inquest into the tragedy has heard.

Wolfgang Schmidt (70), Richard Harmon (69) and Wolfgang Schröder (62) all died from drowning near Adrigole Harbour in Bantry Bay on 16 August 2010 after a fire broke out on Schmidt's boat during an angling trip.

The Irish Times reports that shipwright John Murphy told the inquest that he undertook repairs to the engines and fuel tank of the small cruiser in May 2010. 

He said he expressed concerns about the state of the boat's wiring to Schmidt, who told him he planned to sell the boat later in the year and would return to him to tidy the wiring before then.

The inquest heard that the wiring was connected directly to the battery without an isolation switch or fuse board, which had compounded the problem when fire broke out and made the vessel unrecoverable.

Lone survivor Ed Dziato (47) told how they had twice tried to put out the fire with a powder extinguisher but both times the flames shot back up. They were unable to reach the lifejackets stored forward of the wheelhouse, which was quickly engulfed by flames.

In all three cases the coroner returned verdicts of accidental death due to drowning.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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