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Man pushed off boat by pals on 30th birthday trip got leg trapped in propeller and died

A man died after being pushed into water for a joke before getting his leg trapped in boat propeller, an inquest has heard.

Simon Houlder, from Bubwith in East Yorkshire, was on a boating trip with six friends on the Norfolk Broads to celebrate his 30th birthday when the tragic accident occurred on September 15.

Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard friends “were having a laugh” and had been drinking alcohol aboard the hire boat when Mr Houlder, also known as Sly, became trapped in the propeller while trying to get back on board.

Two of Mr Houlder’s friends had been pushed in before him and the boat reversed to collect them, reports the BBC.

When Mr Houlder was in the river, the boat reversed again, but he had already began swimming to the back of it, where the propeller is located.

A friend of Mr Houlder, who was on board at the time, said he shouted to his friend driving the boat to stop whie urging Mr Houlder to swim to the side of the boat, but he said the noise coming from the boat was so loud that it’s possible neither heard.

“Simon came within a metre of the back of the boat and it dawned on him the boat wasn’t stopping,” he said.

“I could see fear etched on his face.”

It was then that Mr Houlder “disappeared under the water” and three of the men on board jumped in in attempts to save him.

Mr Collins said that Mr Houlder then appeared at the side of the boat with a “significant injury” to his leg.

Following the accident, Mr Houlder was airlifted to James Paget Hospital by rescue helicopter before being transferred to Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, where he sadly died later that day.

The cause of death was by haemorrhage due to severe blood loss.

Assistant Coroner Johanna Thompson concluded it was death by misadventure, stating that there was “nothing untoward about the activity, it was just young men enjoying themselves and having fun”.

But that for Mr Houlder there was “a very sad, tragic outcome”.

His mother Jacqueline said she knew the group would be pushing each other off the boat and that her son would join in too.

“The lads he was there with were a band of brothers to us,” she said.

“We have no reasons to believe anything untoward happened, it was a tragic accident.”

Mr Houlder worked as a joiner and was a keen footballer who played for his local pub team, Bubwith White Swan.

Since his tragic passing, tributes have poured in from teammates at Bubwith White Swan FC who described him as “a club legend”.

His teammates went on to raise more than £10,000 for Mr Houlder’s family.

The GOFUNDME page read: “Nobody expected this to happen and the full footballing community are shook up by this. Sly has been a massive part of the club for many years and was an exceptional footballer, a brother and a fantastic friend.

“He was the life of the party and always brought a smile to everybody’s face.”