The only bright side of tragedy is that it often goes hand in hand with heroism, and Sunday’s freak disaster in Cornwall, which literally smashed apart a family, is no exception.
BSkyB executive Nick Milligan and his eight-year-old daughter were killed yesterday by their own speedboat, run down after being thrown into the water. Nick’s wife and three other children, 4, 10 and 12, are in hospital in a serious condition. There may be amputations.
Nobody yet knows why the boat careened out of control and threw the family into the water. Maybe they were just unlucky. Investigators are curious as to why the safety equipment didn’t work. It should have cut the engine when the driver (do you drive a speedboat?) was thrown. Instead the boat just kept going round and round in circles.
In this story there were many heroes, not least other boaters who made post-haste to the accident and rescued the surviving family members. But the one I want to bring your attention to is the officially un-named local water-skiing instructor who, in an act of bravery and great skill, pulled alongside the careening speedboat, jumped on board and brought it under control. Given that this very same boat had just carved through flesh with its propeller, I’d say that was a very brave thing to do.
A vicar on the shoreline caught it on camera. You’ll have to squint though (slightly better version here):
Local reports say the man’s name was Charlie Toogood.
Bottom line: bravery is an inspiring thing, on whatever scale.