Nelani Koefer
Nelani Koefer Photo supplied

Mum seeking $1.48m for tragic death of her four-year-old

IT'S been almost eight years since young Nelani Koefer drowned after being swept out of her mother's arms when a section of the Bedford Weir collapsed near Blackwater.

Now, a month after a coronial inquest concluded in Rockhampton, Nelani's mother Amy is suing those she holds responsible for more than $1.48 million.

On November 23, 2008, Amy was with four-year-old Nelani and some other family members at the popular swimming hole when one of the inflatable rubber dams on top of Bedford Weir burst and released a flood of water.

According to the court claim, Ms Koefer "has endured severe emotional anguish and psychological pain and suffering, and is likely to do so for the rest of her life".

"By reason of such negligence… (Ms Koefer) experienced the horror of watching her child being swept away to her death," it said.

The claim also said Ms Koefer has developed chronic PTSD as a result.

Lawyers on behalf of Ms Koefer last week filed a claim in Rockhampton's Supreme Court suing SunWater Limited and Trelleborg Engineered

Systems for negligence.

SunWater operates Bedford Weir, while Trelleborg designed and manufactured two inflatable rubber bags to be used as dams atop the concrete wall of the weir.

The claim covers pain and suffering, medical bills and lost income.

A SunWater spokesperson acknowledged the tragedy of the incident, and said their thoughts were foremost with Nelani's family.

"The safety of our staff, our customers and the community is SunWater's first priority," they said.

"SunWater has supported the relevant authorities throughout the investigations and will continue to do so.

"With regards to the court claim, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time."

Trelleborg Engineered Systems did not provide a statement before deadline.

In 2013 SunWater and Trelleborg were each fined $80,000 for breaching the Workplace Health and Safety Act.

In December last year a coronial inquest was held in Rockhampton, the findings of which are yet to be handed down.


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