Falmouth pair's jet ski crash 'not guilty' verdict

Anthony Eva and Alan Cairns, who were acquitted of riding jet skis carelessly

Anthony Eva and Alan Cairns, who were acquitted of riding jet skis carelessly

First published in News
Last updated
Falmouth Packet: Photograph of the Author by , Ex-Reporter/Photographer

Two Falmouth men and a child were acquitted of riding jet skis carelessly yesterday after an accident last summer that left one of the riders with devastating injuries.

Alan Cairns, of Dracaena Avenue and Anthony Eva, of Porham Green were brought before the court by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC), who accused the pair of riding the machines (also known as 'personal water craft') without care and caution and at such a speed as it could have endangered lives or caused injury.

The youth, who is now in his teens and cannot be named for legal reasons, was also charged.

The accident took place in Falmouth Harbour last July when the youth hit Mr Cairns after jumping the wake of power boat, Truro Magistrates' Court heard.

The then 51-year-old Mr Cairns was left with a shattered pelvis that has still not healed.

Although FHC claimed the three had broken the bye-laws of Falmouth Harbour, the magistrates ruled they were merely acting in a similar manner to all jet skiers and described the incident as a "tragic accident."

Eyewitnesses had seen the three jet skiers out around Falmouth and the surrounding beaches but the skipper of a racing yacht who spotted them moments before the accident said there was "nothing unusual" about their behaviour.

Differences in the evidence given by the two adults and the child were highlighted, but after a protracted trial that lasted nearly two full days the magistrates dismissed the case against all three defendants. 

Read the Packet's original, exclusive report on the crash that hospitalised Alan Cairns:

Falmouth shipyard worker shattered pelvis in jet ski crash

Comments (5)

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3:25pm Fri 15 Mar 13

jane-w says...

Having read all about this I believe this case should not have been brought to court. It was as is said a tragic accident. Having seen Mr Cairns out and about he has suffered tremendously due to this and will always remember this day as will all involved but at least no one died. I wish Mr Cairns all the best and hope that he does continue to recover.
Having read all about this I believe this case should not have been brought to court. It was as is said a tragic accident. Having seen Mr Cairns out and about he has suffered tremendously due to this and will always remember this day as will all involved but at least no one died. I wish Mr Cairns all the best and hope that he does continue to recover. jane-w
  • Score: 0

11:36pm Fri 15 Mar 13

Skiversinc says...

I find it unbelievable that a magistrate could make such comments about jet skiers in general. "Acting in a similar manner to all jet skiers" is a huge insult to those who participate in the sport in a safe & responsible manner.
Cornwall Jetskier Club was set up several years ago to try to combat this kind of prejudice. All of their members are RYA trained & insured and must also be data tagged for identification purposes. One member is even K38 trained. This is the highest level of safety training for PWC's (jet skis) in the world.
this magistrate needs to be reminded that there are always exceptions to the rule - they deal with them every day, but to generalise about jetskiers in this way is definitely prejudiced.
I was out on the water that day on my PWC. when I heard the coastguard callout on the marine VHF radio that I carry with me on my craft, I volunteered to attend the scene from maenporth where I was with my family, and on arrival, provided safety cover to allow the lifeboat access & keep the scene clear of other vessels while the helicopter arrived.
Is this the kind of behaviour that the magistrate is referring to? I think not.
I find it unbelievable that a magistrate could make such comments about jet skiers in general. "Acting in a similar manner to all jet skiers" is a huge insult to those who participate in the sport in a safe & responsible manner. Cornwall Jetskier Club was set up several years ago to try to combat this kind of prejudice. All of their members are RYA trained & insured and must also be data tagged for identification purposes. One member is even K38 trained. This is the highest level of safety training for PWC's (jet skis) in the world. this magistrate needs to be reminded that there are always exceptions to the rule - they deal with them every day, but to generalise about jetskiers in this way is definitely prejudiced. I was out on the water that day on my PWC. when I heard the coastguard callout on the marine VHF radio that I carry with me on my craft, I volunteered to attend the scene from maenporth where I was with my family, and on arrival, provided safety cover to allow the lifeboat access & keep the scene clear of other vessels while the helicopter arrived. Is this the kind of behaviour that the magistrate is referring to? I think not. Skiversinc
  • Score: 0

1:59am Sat 16 Mar 13

Lanty Slee says...

They were probably referring to the "jumping the wake of a power boat" part, I'd guess.

Sounds like the normal behaviour of jet skiers to me, from what I've witnessed...
They were probably referring to the "jumping the wake of a power boat" part, I'd guess. Sounds like the normal behaviour of jet skiers to me, from what I've witnessed... Lanty Slee
  • Score: 0

6:56am Sat 16 Mar 13

molesworth says...

My apologies to all responsible jet ski owners but jet skis can literally spoil a nice day on the beach or out in a boat because of the terrible high pithed screaming noise noise they make. I've been on one and it was great fun, just like a fairground ride, but where I went on one, the Far East, they are not allowed to go faster than 10 knots within a mile of land. This means they aren't so irritatingly loud for those on shore and the waves are bigger and more fun to jump across. Safety boats accompany the riders who have hired the PWCs and make sure they are used responsibly. Doesn't this sound sensible? If you asked boat owners and beach goers the majority would want to ban them altogether I'm sure...
My apologies to all responsible jet ski owners but jet skis can literally spoil a nice day on the beach or out in a boat because of the terrible high pithed screaming noise noise they make. I've been on one and it was great fun, just like a fairground ride, but where I went on one, the Far East, they are not allowed to go faster than 10 knots within a mile of land. This means they aren't so irritatingly loud for those on shore and the waves are bigger and more fun to jump across. Safety boats accompany the riders who have hired the PWCs and make sure they are used responsibly. Doesn't this sound sensible? If you asked boat owners and beach goers the majority would want to ban them altogether I'm sure... molesworth
  • Score: 0

5:58pm Sat 16 Mar 13

Skiversinc says...

These days, PWC manufacturers are dedicated to making their craft quieter then ever. The latest models are all 4-stroke motors which are exceedingly quiet. Responsible owners tend to stick to 5 knots (5.5mph) maximum in occupied areas & only speed up when they are far enough away from populated areas to be safe.
I know there are lots of boat owners who would like to have PWC's banned permanently, I've met some, but the sea is big enough I'm sure to accommodate everyone, providing it is done in a safe & responsible manner.
With British currents & sea states being what they are, to restrict small craft to 10 knots within 1 mile of land could be classed as dangerous. However, most of the established PWC clubs are working with the RYA to have PWC's classified as class 2 vessels. This will make PWC riders more accountable under law, but will also give them more rights as far as where they are allowed to operate. If a small boat is a class 2 vessel & allowed to operate in a specific location, having PWC's classified as class 2 vessels will extend to them, the same rights as small boat owners.
This I feel is a move that would be welcomed by many & hopefully reduce the amount of restriction placed on responsible owners.
These days, PWC manufacturers are dedicated to making their craft quieter then ever. The latest models are all 4-stroke motors which are exceedingly quiet. Responsible owners tend to stick to 5 knots (5.5mph) maximum in occupied areas & only speed up when they are far enough away from populated areas to be safe. I know there are lots of boat owners who would like to have PWC's banned permanently, I've met some, but the sea is big enough I'm sure to accommodate everyone, providing it is done in a safe & responsible manner. With British currents & sea states being what they are, to restrict small craft to 10 knots within 1 mile of land could be classed as dangerous. However, most of the established PWC clubs are working with the RYA to have PWC's classified as class 2 vessels. This will make PWC riders more accountable under law, but will also give them more rights as far as where they are allowed to operate. If a small boat is a class 2 vessel & allowed to operate in a specific location, having PWC's classified as class 2 vessels will extend to them, the same rights as small boat owners. This I feel is a move that would be welcomed by many & hopefully reduce the amount of restriction placed on responsible owners. Skiversinc
  • Score: 0

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