Inquest into Bedford Weir collapse to continue

Nelani Koefer’s mother Amy Koefer outside the Rockhampton Court House.
Nelani Koefer’s mother Amy Koefer outside the Rockhampton Court House. Chris Ison

SCOTT Becker never saw any warning signs at the Bedford Weir.

The Chinchilla man told yesterday's coronial inquest into the drowning death of Blackwater girl Nelani Koefer that he had been swimming there for months prior to its collapse on November 20, 2008.

The four-year-old drowned in the Mackenzie River after a section of an inflatable dam ruptured.

Mr Becker's police statement was read at the inquest, which described Mr Becker hearing a "shotgun blast sound".

The inquest heard Mr Becker looked to the top of the dam when he heard the noise and noticed air was coming out of the inflatable barrier.

He said it only took seconds to give way.

Mr Becker told the inquest he had spent a lot of time at the weir in the three months prior to the incident which claimed Nelani's life.

He had seen the balloon (inflatable barrier) bulge and that was the area which busted.

Mr Becker said when the balloon deflated he thought around 2m of water came over the dam.

Mr Becker was questioned as to whether he noticed the warning signs in the area, but he stated to the inquest there were not signs there until after Nelani's death. The inquest also heard from Bruce Cage, who was an employee of Queensland Rubber at the time of the incident.

Mr Cage expressed his company's sincere sympathies to Nelani's family.He explained in detail a repair that had been done to the inflatable dam in 2003.

The inquest heard a very fine crack allowed air to find its way in then out of the dam, which resulted in bubbles forming.

Mr Cage explained how a repair was carried out to stop the leak which prevented any air from escaping.

The inquest will continue today.

Topics:  bedford weir

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