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COMMENT: Lessons to be learned from terrible tragedy
8:00am Wednesday 17th February 2010 in Headlines
THE death of little Gabby Grady is a terrible tragedy for her family and friends. It is difficult to imagine what the five-year-old’s family is going through. As Gabby is mourned we must also be thankful that her older brother Ryan survived this awful incident.
Gabby’s mother Kim has praised the actions of the emergency services after the car being driven by the children’s father Christopher Grady plunged into the freezing waters of the Avon at Evesham.
True heroism was on display last Thursday. The police officers who entered the water, risking their own lives, to save Ryan deserve the highest of praise.
That Gaby could not be saved is no reflection on the efforts of those attempting to rescue her. Diving under the water without suitable equipment in an attempt to free her from the car would not have been heroic. It would have been suicidal.
The full details of what happened last Thursday will not be revealed until there is an inquest and, we assume, a trial. Questions are already being asked, however, about the lack of a specialist diving team in the West Mercia Police area.
It is right to say that such a team may not have been able to get to Evesham any quicker than the 97 minutes it took divers from the Avon and Somerset force.
But the issues raised by the Mercia Inshore Search and Rescue team and the Malvern Archaeological Dig Unit need to be addressed.
The police have not used MISAR since last summer after a dispute over safety. The Upton-based team says it could have been in Evesham within 30 minutes and divers from MADU are trained to work at depths of up to 100 metres.
It would be utterly wrong to suggest Gabby Grady would have survived if a different course of action were taken last Thursday.
There will undoubtedly be lessons to be learned from this tragedy. And that is what we hope the emergency services and the various voluntary organisations involved concentrate on in the coming months.