THE leader of a Moroccan trek on which a Bexley student died was a novice who had never been to the country before.
Stephen Bates was in charge of Samuel Boon, 17, and 10 other Business Academy Bexley students on a World Challenge trek to Amizmiz in July 2012.
The former Army engineer had served two tours of Basra and been to the Falklands, Cyprus and Belize but had never been to Morocco or the Atlas mountains.
It was his first trip with World Challenge, which organises foreign adventure excursions, and his preparation with the company had involved two weekends of training, including two days in Hexham, Northumberland, in November 2011, and watching a series of online videos.
Samuel collapsed while attempting an incline in close to 40C heat at around 3.30pm on the second day of the trek on July 17, 2012, an inquest into his death at Bromley Civic Centre heard today.
Mr Bates told Coronor Selena Lynch: "I think he was tired. He was walking under his own steam.
"There were no alarm bells ringing in my head and there were no signs of heat illness."
Former BBA assistant headteacher Guy Hewson had earlier given evidence via Skype concerning the death of 6ft 2in, 20st Samuel.
Guy Hewson: "I felt there was no reason why he would not have managed the trek. He was a big lad, I don't deny it.
"The type of terrain talked of 'undulating hills'; they are not steep or technically complicated climbs.
"It was a hot day but there was shading at the lunchtime stops and they would not be walking at the hottest part of the day so the students would be capable of completing it.
"I felt it was an appropriate destination for students to go to - obviously it was out of their comfort zones but certainly not impossible."
The inquest, which began yesterday, is set to finish on Friday.
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