The daughter of a man who died after going into the sea to save his dog wants to prevent similar tragedies after visiting the scene of the incident for the first time.
Lisa Rogers was accompanied by a KentOnline reporter when she went to Kingsdown Rifle Range, close to where her father lost consciousness in November 2015.
Nicholas Warren had been walking his Labrador puppy, Maisy, when she jumped over the broken sea wall into the water. The 57-year-old roofer followed his pet in but neither were able to climb out.
Two days after his five-day inquest concluded with a verdict of misadventure, Ms Rogers – who attended the entire hearing – felt compelled to finally see the site for herself.
The 34-year-old said it was a âreality checkâ because she was shocked by the absence of water safety signs.
She now wants to raise awareness of what she feels is a âdangerousâ area to prevent similar tragedies.
She said: âBefore now I couldnât quite bring myself to come and see where the incident happened.
âBut Iâve had a week of learning a lot more of how it happened and how it came about and itâs really to see for myself about making the area safe and to try and prevent people getting into the water at this point, or falling in, or pets jumping in…just to stop it happening.
âYou can only imagine what happened and when youâre actually faced with the area, itâs quite emotional.
âIâve lost somebody close to me and Iâd like to prevent that happening to other families if I can.â
Ms Rogers, a commercial broker at Pharos Insurance Brokers in Whitfield, noted how easily accessible the âout of boundsâ former shooting range is and said: âItâs not what I thought.
âOn first arrival I noticed that there are gates which should be locked but theyâre wide open for anyone to walk in here.
âThere are signs advising about the cliffs and the possibility of falling rocks. There are also signs to say that itâs an ex military area but thereâs nothing about water safety.â
Ms Rogers, who described her dad as âone of the strongest menâ she knew, was taken aback after seeing the extent of the sheer drop and condition of the collapsed wall where he entered the water and struggled to re-climb to safety.
It was also slippery and there was a very small ledge where Mr Warren tried to lasso the dog. But she believes no one would have been able to stop him going in to get Maisy.
âPets, as in my dadâs case, could quite easily jump over there and then you find yourself in a situation having to decide whether you also want to lower yourself into the water.”
Having listened to the many testimonies of those involved in her dadâs search and rescue, she feels duty bound to raise awareness.
Sheâs calling for signs at the footpathâs entrance warning people of water safety, buoyancy aids like rings and a location code set to the particular area.
She said: âThe emergency services would then be able to pinpoint exactly where they need to come.
âIt was very difficult to explain to the emergency services where this was at the time, when you are in panic. If a code could just be given that would prevent any delays in future.â
Matt Pavitt, coastal operations area commander for the south east of UK Coastguard, said: âUnfortunately The Rifle Range at Oldstairs Bay is a site where we have rescued people in the past and since that incident.
“I think itâs somewhere thatâs accessed by a lot of people and tragically it has shown with Mr Warren that a really nice planned day out, walking his dog with his partner, how quickly and tragically that can change into something a lot worse.
âWe would urge anybody who chooses to go there to be careful, be aware of the conditions and surroundings and stay away from the edges.
âUndoubtedly weâve seen evidence that location marker posts or safety signs in other areas do improve peopleâs awareness of where they are.
âThe location codes on the signs are in our system, so as soon as someone gives us the letters or numbers we can really quickly pinpoint exactly where they are.
âAnything at all that helps saves lives at sea has got to be a good thing.â
What do you think? Are more safety measures needed at the Rifle Range at Oldstairs Bay?