Family of Burnley woman killed by sand yacht call for safety measures

Sand yachts on St Annes beach during the British Championships at Fylde International Dand Yacht Club.
Sand yachts on St Annes beach during the British Championships at Fylde International Dand Yacht Club.

The parents of a woman who died after being struck by a racing sand yacht say safety must be improved before the sport returns to the Fylde coast.

Sand yachting was banned on St Annes beach after Carole Cruz was hit during the Fylde International Sand Yacht Club’s two-day regatta in 2002.

Sand yachting victim Carol Cruz

Sand yachting victim Carol Cruz

But Fylde Council has now agreed to lift the ban on wind sports as long as strict safety standards are met.

Mrs Cruz’s parents, Andrew and Sheila Ewens, called for the ban 10 years ago and said the sport should not return until safety improvements were made.

Mr Ewens (69) said: “We have no problem with the sport at all. At the time we thought the safety arrangements were not in place properly, and we still think that way. Back then there were quite a few people complaining about safety.”

Mr Ewens said his daughter, a 38-year-old mother of two boys who were on the beach at the time of the accident, was at the seaside for a couple of hours before the sand yacht race started.

He said a marshall who was monitoring the beach got called to see to a broken sand yacht.

“Our daughter was starting to walk back when all of a 
sudden this race had started and she got caught up in it,” he said. “At the trial she was made out as a silly girl who walked into a race, but it didn’t happen that way.”

The couple, of Rosehill in Burnley, say the beach should be closed off during races and more marshals are needed to keep the public away.

Mr Ewens added: “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens once the sport restarts, but it’s got to be better than it was.

“The fact that safety has had to be improved for the ban to be lifted must mean there was a lack of safety in the first place.”

Sand yacht pilot Adrian Warren of Doncaster was cleared by a jury of 
manslaughter in 2004.