Abbey Wood Parents of Moroccan trek death teenager Sam Boon call for adventure company head to be sacked

News Shopper: Karen and Ken Boon say they will keep fighting to stop another family losing a child on a foreign trek. Karen and Ken Boon say they will keep fighting to stop another family losing a child on a foreign trek.

The parents of an Abbey Wood teenager who died on a Moroccan trek have called for the head of the adventure company involved to be sacked.

Speaking nearly two years after their son Sam lost his life, Ken and Karen Boon are angry World Challenge managing director Matthew Eastlake remains in post.

A student at Business Academy Bexley, Sam was 17 when he collapsed and died on the second day of a trek to Amizmiz in the foothills of the Atlas mountains.

His father says the same thing "could happen tomorrow".

Ken Boon told News Shopper: "If you had a major incident tomorrow the helicopter still wouldn’t come, the ambulance wouldn’t come.

"What are you left with? A minibus to come and get you and that’s the most frightening thing.

"I hate dragging it up because it just seems so pointless and so avoidable but I can’t just let it go.

News Shopper:

Sam Boon, with mum Karen, was 17 when he died. 

"I can’t just say ‘that’s it’ or I would be selling my son short. It could seriously happen tomorrow.

"To lose a child is a terrible thing but to think that is was avoidable is just ridiculous."

Sam, who was 6ft 2in and 20st, could not be revived after he passed out in temperatures approaching 39C on the afternoon of July 17, 2012.

His parents were led to believe helicopter evacuation, or at the very least a road ambulance, would be available in such an emergency.

But their dying son was left to wait up to an hour-and-a-half for medical attention after a minibus finally arrived to take him to a nearby medical centre.

Ken, 55, who lives in Woodland Way, Abbey Wood, says Mr Eastlake should go.

News Shopper:

The trek had been heading for Amizmiz in the Atlas foothills.

The electrician who works in the security industry, said: “He should step down.

“The mistakes at World Challenge come from the top and I don’t think he should be allowed to run the company.

"Once you sign up for one of their trips you probably won’t meet another World Challenge employee because all the Moroccan operation is sub-contracted out.

"I’m angry and frustrated."

Ken and Karen, 51, are looking at whether they can sue World Challenge over their son’s death and want to see better regulation of overseas adventure firms.

They are backing a Parliamentary bill by Labour MP Kate Green which would create a UK register for accredited providers of adventure and gap year activities, both in this country and overseas.

A World Challenge spokesman said the company had made significant changes since Sam’s death.

Read News Shopper's coverage of Sam Boon's inquest here

Communications manager Jon Dale said: “We now request schools submit fitness test results to us for anyone who is due to go on a trip.

“That way any potential issues can be spotted.

“We now make sure out programme leaders go out to schools at various different intervals and our presentations to students are a lot more in depth.

“Most importantly we prepare students for the fact this is not a holiday but a serious expedition.

“They can get a lot more out of it if they are fit and prepared.”

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