“They will be forever young,” family of Sheffield sisters swept away in waterfall speak of their ‘unimaginable sorrow’
The family of two Sheffield sisters who died after being swept away in a Vietnam waterfall have spoken of their continuing heartbreak.
Sisters Izzy Squire, 19 and Beth Anderson, 24, died with Christian Sloan, 24, during a day trip to the Dalania waterfall area of Vietnam in February 2016.
Senior coroner, Chris Dorries, concluded that the group did not receive sufficient warning of the danger of the waterfall that claimed their life.
Senior Coroner, Chris Dorries, ruled the trio got into trouble in the water, and subsequently died, after their tour guide failed to warn them it was imperative to exit a natural water slide he took them to from the left.
“The evidence is clear enough for me to find on the balance of probabilities that the group were not sufficiently warned of the danger of failing to exit left at the bottom of the water slide in that either: they were not given a proper safety warning and/or it was not ensured that this was properly understood,” Mr Dorries told Sheffield Coroners’ Court today.
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Speaking after their inquest Izzy and Beth’s dad, David Squire, said: “We have lived and breathed unimaginable sorrow, pain and heartbreak. We will never be the people we were before February 26, 2016.
“Part of our hearts and souls died with Beth and Izzy on that inexplicably awful February Friday. Three years on, we are a much depleted family. A family that will forever remember, honour, laugh, cry and weep for the energy, passion and creativity of Beth and Izzy. They will be forever just 19 and 24, and forever young.”
He added: “It’s now been confirmed what we as a family have known all along, Christian, Beth and Izzy were completely innocent and lost their lives through no fault of their own.
“Instead, a series of individual failings and persistent breaches of Vietnamese laws and regulations led to our children’s untimely death.
“To be clear, the events and circumstances that led to their deaths were wholly preventable.
“Christian, Beth and Izzy were conscientious young people who had sought an easy excursion in a bustling tourist area. Three fit and healthy young people put their trust and care into the supervision of the tour company and their tour guide.
“They lost their lives because of persistent negligence and the disregard of the Titania park management to ensure the safety of its tourists.
“While the inquest has spelt out how they lost their lives it’s still unclear what progress has been made in a criminal investigation that we are led to believe is still ongoing in Vietnam.
“We implore the Lam Dong police to persist in their investigations to bring justice for Christian, Beth and Izzy and we implore the British authorities to pursue this.”
During the conclusion of the inquest today, Mr Dorries said he did not accept the account given by the trio’s tour guide, Mr Van Si, that he advised the trio on how to exit the water slide, adding that neither witness accounts or a video taken by a member of another tour group supported his version of events.
He said: “There is no way of knowing on the evidence available, what was said and lost in any marginal language difference or accented speech, nor where the briefing was given in terms of background noise. But is seems unlikely that three intelligent and overtly safety conscious young adults would ignore a clear protective instruction if this had been communicated to them.”
The court heard how Christian, who met Beth and Izzy the day before the trio suffered their fatal injuries, had carried out research to identify a reliable tour company.
A worker at the tour company, Dam Me Da Lat Co, also noticed how one of the two girls had expressed caution when the group were discussing which tour to book.
“I am satisfied there was a careful and conservative approach by the group to the choice of tour, and to their own actions that day,” said Mr Dorries.
He added: “I was disturbed to hear from the families that in the period following the deaths, the uninformed chose to make a number of allegations that the trio acted unwisely...there is no evidence at all that such was the case.
Mr Dorries recorded a narrative conclusion.