Reports are coming in that on September 12, the penultimate day of the Cannes Boat Show, a woman was killed by a runaway RIB, believed to be an MX-12 Gran Sport by Cantieri Magazzù based in Palermo, Italy.
It appears a Cypriot journalist at the helm during a test drive was flung from the boat along with Renato Magazzù, MD of the eponymous shipyard, after hitting a wave. It is thought the third passenger, a woman believed to be aged around 30, jumped into the water as the boat began turning circles under its own power with no one at the helm. She was killed when she was struck by the propeller. The accident happened in the bay of Cannes close to the port where the boat show is held. The fire service and police arrived within minutes, but the woman was already dead at the scene.
The accident highlights the dangers involved in allowing third parties, possibly unqualified or inexperienced, to take the helm of powerful speedboats during so-called ‘sea trials’. It also appears that there was no kill cord, a length of cord connected to a kill switch on the console or engine, attached to the driver at the time of the accident.
Kill cords hit the headlines following a tragic accident on May 5, 2013 in which two people died and two more were badly injured near Padstow in Cornwall. Six family members were thrown from their 8m RIB, which continued to circle around them killing the father and eight-year-old daughter.
Prior to publishing its report on the accident, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) took the unusual step of issuing a safety bulletin confirming that the boat’s kill cord was not being worn at the time of the accident. Remarkably, there is no legal requirement for a kill cord to be fitted to any kind of boat in the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) – the safety standards to which all boats in the EU have to conform. From 2005-2013 the Marine Accident Investigation Branch in the UK has recorded seven fatalities caused by people being thrown from a boat while not wearing a kill cord and then being run down by the same boat.