'Freak wave' swept Olympic 2020 hopeful onto spinning propeller, inquest hears

Croydon Guardian: Olympic 2020 hopeful Charlie Hutton was hit by a 'freak wave' Olympic 2020 hopeful Charlie Hutton was hit by a 'freak wave'

An Olympic 2020 hopeful was hit by a 'freak wave' and swept onto the spinning propeller of his family's boat an inquest heard yesterday.

Charlie Hutton, an England under-15 hockey star from South Croydon, was killed in the motorboat accident off the Isle of Wight during a summer break with his parents and two friends.

The group had been staying at the Hutton's family second home in Mudeford, Dorset, and had headed towards the Isle of Wight before the accident happened near The Needles landmark just before 5pm on July 20.

Charlie's father Simon Hutton, 52, who was driving the boat, told the inquest the 14-year-old Whitgift School pupil, was flung from the £50,000 rigid inflatable boat by a 'huge wave.'

He described the water as "choppy, but nothing the boat couldn't handle."

He said: "Two waves came from the side and then the water almost dropped away. It was like there was a big drop and then the wave came over us, it was like a big wall of water.

"I have never come across a wave like it, it engulfed the boat and kept going for a long time."

Mr Hutton said he spotted Charlie's friend, who had been sat on a cushioned area at the front of the boat with his son, bobbing in the water.

He said Charlie was nowhere to be seen, until he realised he was lying wounded on the boat's propeller.

The graphic designer said: "I remember screaming out: "Where's Charlie, Where's Charlie? I could not hear anything or anyone. My mind was blocked and I was set on finding Charlie.

"I saw what I thought was engine oil in the water and realised it could be blood and I went to the back of the boat. Charlie was there on the propeller.

"His eyes were fixed on me and they were just saying "Help me."

After cutting his clothes free from the propeller, he pulled Charlie back on to the boat and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Charlie was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital but died later that day. A post mortem revealed he died of multiple injuries, including to his pelvis and left leg.

The teen also suffered wounds to his groin and extensive blood loss from the main artery to his leg.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Isle of Wight Coroner Caroline Sumeray called on the boating industry to promote propeller guards to boost safety on boats.

"That would be a fitting legacy for Charlie," she said.

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