The families of Beth Anderson, Izzy Squire and Christian Sloan, who died in Vietnam while on a group tour in 2016, have today paid tribute to them as the inquest into their death concluded.
Beth, 24, sister Izzy, 19, and Christian, 24, died on 26 February 2016 at the Datanla Waterfalls in the Da Lat area of Vietnam.
Beth and Izzy, from Sheffield, had met Christian, from Kent, while they were travelling.
The inquest into their death concluded today (Tuesday 19 March) and their families have released the following statements and new pictures.
Statement from the family of Beth and Izzy:
“A series of individual failings and breaches in laws and regulations led to the untimely deaths of Christian, Beth and Izzy, who lost their lives through no fault of their own. We believe the events and circumstances that led to their deaths were wholly preventable.
“Despite sending evidence and documentation as well as raising 'diplomatic notes' from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we have not heard anything from the Vietnamese Authorities for nearly a year. We implore the Lam Dong Police to persist in their investigations, to bring justice for Christian, Beth and Izzy and to ensure that similar failures are never allowed to happen again.
“We are forever indebted to Katie Cottrell, Christian's sister. Without her diligent actions, in the moments after hearing about losing her beloved brother, we would not have discovered the truth of the circumstances that led to their deaths.
“We would like to praise the thorough work of South Yorkshire Police, as well as the compassion of the coroner Mr Dorries and all those here at the Medico Legal centre who cared for Izzy and Beth when their bodies were returned to the UK, three years ago.
“We want to thank our family, our old and our new friends for their untiring, loving and loyal support over the last three devastating years of our lives. We have lived and breathed unimaginable sorrow, pain and heartbreak.
“We sill never be the people we were before 26 February 2016. Part of our hearts, souls and our very being, died with Beth and Izzy, on that inexplicably awful February Friday.
“Three years on, we are a much-depleted family. A family that will forever remember, honour, laugh, cry, and weep, for the energy, creativity, passion, fun and youthfulness of Beth and Izzy.
“They will be, forever, just 19 and 24.
“And forever young.”
Statement from Christian's family:
“The past three years without Christian have been a living nightmare for us as a family, he has left a void in our hearts that can never be filled, he was so loved by his family, friends, colleagues and fellow travellers. Messages and support we have received during the past three years from those who loved him are a testament to what an incredible and humble young man he was, with so much more to give.
“Due to the wall of silence that we have continued to face from the Vietnamese authorities, we as a family set about finding answers to our questions as to what exactly happened on the 26th February 2016. The response from fellow backpackers in and around the area of Datanla, Vietnam, was overwhelming, the eyewitness accounts, photographs and video footage that they were able to provide has enabled us to create a precise timeline of events from that day leading to the tragic loss of three bright young lives, we cannot thank those people enough for working with us and Sheffield police.
“The inquest has not been easy to listen to; however, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Dorries for his unbiased summing up of the events. The evidence collected during this long investigation and put before the Coroner has shown beyond doubt that Christian, Beth and Izzy were in no way responsible for what happened on that day, a day which had been sold to them as an easy trek and ended with them losing their lives due the careless and reckless behaviour of the person who had been paid to safely guide them.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank South Yorkshire Police, despite Christian being a Kent lad, it is the police officers from Sheffield who have continued to provide ongoing support and assistance during what has been a difficult, traumatic and often turbulent three years, we would particularly like to say thank you to Detectives David Sayles, Lisa Kramer and Andy Stephanek.
“We understand that the Government and Home Office have been reluctant to pursue information from Vietnamese authorities surrounding their current investigation in to these tragic circumstances to date, however, we hope that today’s ruling will prompt suitable action from the relevant Government Ministers in ensuring that appropriate justice is sought for the actions of the Vietnamese tour guide, the Tour company and the Management Board of Datanla Waterfall Tourist Resort.
“We would like to invite the Foreign Minister, Home Secretary and Foreign Office Officials to contact us to discuss next steps and working together on an acceptable outcome to achieve justice for three lives lost and to safeguard the lives of future backpackers and travellers.”
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