Canal and River Trust deem aqueduct ‘safe’ after teenager bypassed railings and fell to death

Canal and River Trust deem aqueduct 'safe' after teenager bypassed railings and fell to death

The Canal and River Trust has insisted that its 200-year-old aqueduct is “safe for normal use” after being ordered to review safety measures following a teenager’s death.

Kristopher McDowell, 18, fell 120ft from the Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Denbighshire after he bypassed railings at the UNESCO World Heritage site in May 2016.

The teenager was walking home with three friends after a shift at McDonald’s when he stepped through a gap on to a narrow parapet after one of his friends said he was scared of heights.

Senior coroner for North Wales East and Central, John Gittins has now called for safety measures at the world-famous tourist attraction to be re-examined after a cast-iron upright – behind a gap in railings alongside the site towpath – gave way.

He said he was concerned that the conditions which led to Kristopher’s death still existed.

The inquest heard how an employee of the Canal and River Trust, which is responsible for the aqueduct, had carried out a monthly inspection of the railings three weeks before the accident on May 31 and no issues were identified.

The Trust has since insisted that the aqueduct is safe for visitors and remains open following the coroner’s findings and intention to issue it a Regulation 28 prevention of future deaths report.

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