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Fire Service cleared over teen's drowning in Whitianga

Coromandel Peninsula | Thu July 06, 2017

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The Whitianga Fire Station has been acquitted of any responsibilty associated with the death of teenager, Lucas Cochrane, who drowned after drinking at the local fire station, in September last year.

Lucas Cochrane was pulled from the waters of the Whitianga waterways housing estate four days after he disappeared from the local fire station.

The 19 year old had travelled down from Auckland with friends to attend a commemorative function for a family member of a volunteer firefighter.

Cochrane's family believe the fire station contributed to the teen's death by allowing him to bring his own alcohol to the event, which was in breach of the station's policy.

An inquest into Cochrane's death was held in Hamilton last month and the findings were released this morning.

"While I can accept that the breach of the Fire Service policy has contributed to allowing Mr Cochrane and his young friends to consume alcohol that may not have otherwise been available at the canteen, I agree that it is stretching credulity too far to suggest that the breach of the policy has been a causative factor in the death of Mr Cochrane," Coroner Gordon Matenga says.

Matenga said there was no evidence of any external trauma or injury on Cochrane's body, so it would never be known whether the cause of death was accidental or not.

"All that can be reliably said is that Mr Cochrane died as a result of drowning."

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