Four guilty over rafting death

Four people from a Turkish rafting company have been found guilty of reckless killing and sentenced to five-and-a-half years each in prison over the death of a Welsh schoolgirl. Cerys Potter, who was nine and from the Vale of Glamorgan, died in 2010.

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  1. Wales This Week

Wales This Week, Fighting for Cerys

Cerys Potter died during a rafting trip in Turkey in 2010 Credit: Terry Potter

In July 2010, nine year old Cerys Potter from Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan was on a family holiday in Turkey. She’d been at the resort of Fethiye for a week when she, and other members of her family went out on a white water rafting trip, along the Dalaman river.

During the trip Cerys fell out of her raft and was soon lost in the swirling water amongst the rocks. The next few hours were chaotic, and it seemed to the family that the rafting company, known as Marmaris, had no procedure for missing tourists.

A British nurse in the raft behind saw what happened.

Cerys's father, Terry Potter said:

“The rafting company then, the next day carried on rafting, they said there’d been an accident but no one would have been hurt and they just carried on business as normal”

In fact, Cerys had died in the water, near to where she had fallen out of the raft. Her body was not found for two hours.

Terry Potter is not only trying to get justice for Cerys but has spent three years campaigning to prevent further tragedies. Since 1997 there have been nine deaths on the Dalaman river involving rafting companies.

This year's summer holiday season has started and for Welsh tourists going to Turkey, the advice from the Association of British Travel Agents is clear.

Sean Tipton, spokesman for ABTA said:

“white water rafting is by it’s very nature quite a risky business... if you’re thinking about booking one of these trips, first of all, use a reputable tour company, so if you’re booking through an ABTA tour operator on a package holiday ask the rep who they’d recommend that they use...

...if you’re travelling independently that’s not an option, so at that point speak to the local tourist board. They’ll have a list of companies that they’ll recommend... we would not recommend just going to a local company where you have no way of vetting them at all”.

Last week, after thirteen previous hearings, the Potters returned to the court in Mugla where the Maramis Rafting Company faced charges of Reckless Killing.

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