A man whose son was killed by a runaway speedboat 13 years ago is calling for Government legislation to be introduced to prevent further tragedy.
Water safety campaigner Heddon Johnson, 60, said the recent incident in Cornwall - in which two members of the same family were killed and others seriously injured by an out-of-control vessel - brought back painful memories of his son's death in 2000.
Tristan Douglas-Johnson, from Dorchester in Dorset, died at the Southampton International Boat Show 13 years ago when he was thrown from a speedboat and run over as it circled unpredictably in the water. The driver had not been wearing the "kill cord", which is designed to cut power to the engine when the operator moves away from the controls.
Mr Johnson's renewed calls for legislation making the wearing of the cord mandatory come after initial investigations by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said the driver of the speedboat in the Camel Estuary on Sunday, May 5, had not been wearing a kill cord. It has not been confirmed who was driving the boat at the time of the incident.
Nick Milligan, 51, the managing director of Sky's advertising sales division, Sky Media, was declared dead at the scene in Padstow, along with his daughter, Emily, eight, following the incident. Mr Milligan's wife, Victoria, 39, and the couple's other children Amber, 12, Olivia, 10, and Kit, four, were also injured by the speedboat as it circled at high speed.
Mr Johnson has posted a petition on the www.change.org website in an effort to put pressure on the Government and introduce new compulsory safety measures, which he says could save lives.
He said: "I want people to take this seriously, because the kill cord can save lives in this sort of situation. Seeing the footage from Cornwall on the television brought back the terrible memories of my own son's death. We don't know the circumstances yet, but if the kill cord had been fitted then the engine would have cut out. I can't sit back and risk letting this happen again - I want to do something."
The initial MAIB investigation into the crash in Cornwall states: "The [boat] was fitted with a kill cord, but this was not attached to the driver at the time of the accident. Consequently, when the driver was ejected from the boat, the kill cord did not operate to stop the engine and the [boat] continued to circle out of control, and at speed."
It said the boat ran over members of the family "a number of times" as it circled in the water. The runaway boat was eventually brought under control by water skiing instructor Charlie Toogood, who leapt from his own boat into the craft to turn off its engine and prevent further harm. He was subsequently declared a hero for his actions.
Mr Johnson said: "Even if a law making it compulsory to wear the kill cord is hard to enforce, it will make people think twice before they set out. Once it becomes a habit, people won't think twice about wearing it." The petition can be viewed by visiting www.change.org and typing "kill cord" into the search box.