A man died after his leg was sliced by a boat propeller after he was pushed into a river by friends in a horrific prank gone wrong.
Simon Houlder from northern England hired a boat with six friends on the Norfolk Broads to celebrate his 30th birthday.
Friends had been drinking and ‘were having a laugh’ when joiner Mr Houlder was pushed in.
He became trapped in the propeller on the back of the vessel while trying to get on board from the rear, while the boat was reversing towards him.
Two other friends were pushed in the water prior to Mr Houlder and both were able to get out safely when the boat went back to pick them up.
But when the boat went to get Mr Houlder, he was already swimming towards the propeller.
Friend Frederick Collins shouted to Mr Houlder to swim to the side of the vessel, while instructing the driver of the boat to stop reversing, but the boat’s engine noise was so loud that the men may not have heard him.
Mr Houlder ‘disappeared under the water’ before reappearing along the side of the vessel after three men jumped in to try to save him.
He had a ‘significant injury’ to his leg and was airlifted to James Paget Hospital. Mr Houlder died that same day in Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge from haemorrhage caused by severe blood loss.
Mr Houlder’s mother Jacqueline said the men on the boat were a ‘band of brothers’ to the family and called it ‘a tragic accident’.
Mr Houlder played football for Bubwith White Swan, a pub team in his local area. His grieving teammates raised more than GBP £10,000 for the family.