HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc778-9
27. Sir D. Renton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about the loss of Mr. David Roy Adams, a district officer in the Solomon Islands, who was reported missing on 12th September.

Mr. Kershaw

The High Commissioner Western Pacific reported that Mr. Adams was missing presumed drowned at sea whilst on duty on 12th September. A thorough search was unsuccessful.

An inquiry has been held in the territory. Full details are not yet available, but the verdict was death by misadventure.

Sir D. Renton

I am sure that my hon. Friend will join me in expressing sympathy to the parents and relatives of Mr. Adams in this country. Bearing in mind that the inquiry started over a month ago, can he say why the details are not yet available? Will he meanwhile say what was the unladen weight or the overall length of the ship concerned?

Mr. Kershaw

I am very glad to join my right hon. and learned Friend in his expressions of sympathy. As to the delay, he will bear in mind the very scattered nature of the territory and the fact that the search vessels concerned dispersed after the search, and that it was necessary to get the evidence of their crews before the inquiry could be properly concluded. I do not know the size of vessel but it was quite small. I understand that it is likely that Mr. Adams fell overboard where a rail was missing, but I cannot say with certainty whether that is so. Unfortunately, Mr. Adams was not a swimmer.

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