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Teen trek death parents hit at firm

The heart-broken parents of a teenager who died in sweltering heat on a trekking trip in Morocco have launched a stinging attack on the company which organised the trip.

Ken Boon, father of 17-year-old Samuel, said they would never have allowed him to go on the trip in July 2012 if they had known about the reality of the arrangements for emergency care put in place by schools expedition company World Challenge.

"If we had known that in an emergency there would have been no helicopter, no ambulance, no medic, in fact the best emergency response available was a mini-bus with no medical assistance, we would never have allowed Sam to go," Mr Boon said after the conclusion of an inquest into his son's death held in Bromley, south east London.

"In fact I don't think there is any school in the country that would go."

His remarks were made after assistant coroner for south London Selena Lynch returned a conclusion of misadventure into the death of the 6ft 2ins teenager, who weighed 20 stone.

The inquest heard he collapsed on July 17 that year while trekking in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains in temperatures of 39 C during a school trip to the region.

A local guide was asked to get an ambulance but over an hour later, a mini bus arrived at the nearby road to transport the teenager to a local medical facility, the inquest was told.

"Plans for evacuation relied almost entirely upon local agents to find and obtain appropriate facilities," Mrs Lynch said "They were appointed without their qualifications being checked or references obtained, and were not given any formal training.

"There were no arrangements in place for an ambulance with medical equipment and/or personnel to be provided in an emergency, and the facilities at local medical centres had not been assessed," she said.


From Belfast Telegraph