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10 years since Morecambe Bay tragedy

23 Chinese cockle pickers died in the tragedy Credit: PA

Today marks a decade since the tragedy that took the lives of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay.

They were working in the dark and faced a fast incoming tide. Emergency crews were called by one cockler who called 999 telling police: "Sinking water, many many, sinking water... Sinking water, sinking water."

Sadly only one cockle picker survived the disaster. The victims, aged between 18 and 45, were working for a gangmaster to send money back to their families.

Crews worked for 22 hours to recover the bodies and look for survivors Credit: PA

Michael Guy from the RNLI was out that night he told us his crew were confronted with a "sea of bodies." He went on to say "it was something no one had come across so in reality it's one of those things that generates memories and we have to live with them."

Following a trial gangmaster Lin Liang Ren was jailed for 21 counts of manslaughter, facilitating illegal immigration and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 14 years at Preston Crown court.

Ordeal was 'horrendous' say RNLI crews Credit: PA

There has been no fishing in the bay for the past 5 years with fisherman in the area saying the tragedy also took their livelihoods. They claim if the beds were to re-open a similar disaster could happen again as the current permit system is not good enough to stop people cockling illegally.

  1. Granada

Cockle tragedy was 'horrendous' says RNLI crew

Today marks 10 years since the Morecambe Bay cockle tragedy in which 23 Chinese cockle pickers lost their lives.

Michael Guy was working for the RNLI that night and was part of the rescue attempts. A decade on he told us about the "horrendous night" when he and his crew were confronted by a "sea of bodies."

  1. Granada

The Cockling Disaster: 10 Years On

With tides as high as a house that can sweep in as fast as a car, and quicksands capable of swallowing someone whole, Morecambe Bay is no place to put profit before people.

Ten years ago, a gangmaster did just that and killed 23 Chinese cockle pickers.

They were sent out with no knowledge of the area's hazards, no English-language skills, and - for some - no ability to swim.

A decade on, our correspondent Rob Smith has returned to the Bay to speak to those who tried to save the cocklers.


Medical Director to step down

Peter Dyer, Medical Director Credit: ITV Border

The Medical Director at the hospital trust in charge of Kendal's Westmorland General is to step down after two terms.

Peter Dyer will continue to work as a consultant surgeon, as well being involved in a review of education, training and research at the University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Trust.

Last month the former chief executive of the Trust, Tony Halsall, stood down.

It followed critical reports from health watchdogs about maternity services, A&E staffing levels and out-patient appointments.

Sir David Henshaw, UHMBT chair, today thanked Mr Dyer for six years as Medical Director.

He added: “Peter has a passion for education and training and will be of real benefit to this forthcoming review."

The Trust will advertise for a new permanent Medical Director.

New warnings for hospital trust

A health watchdog has issued two more warning notices against a south Lakes hospital Trust.

The Care Quality Commission says patient monitoring needs to be improved at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust.

Patients should also not be placed in mixed sex accommodation.

The Trust - whose chief executive resigned last month - says it's working to improve things.

Hospital improvements made

Bosses at a south Lakes hospital trust which has been criticised by a health watchdog says work's underway to make improvements.

The Care Quality Commission identifed a series of failingsat the Royal Lancaster Infirmary's casualty department.

That's where many people in the south Lakes recieve emergency care.

Last week the chief executive of the Trust resigned.

Its interim chairman says works underway to improve emergency care and reduce a backlog in outpatient follow-up appointments.