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Thames pleasure boat body found after five days

PUBLISHED: 21:02 27 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 05 October 2010

Jair fell from Hurlingham (above) and drowned

Jair fell from Hurlingham (above) and drowned

POLICE have recovered the body of a 32-year-old restaurant worker from the Thames—five days after he slipped and fell getting off a pleasure cruiser. Mexican Jair Fernandes Murillo had spent an evening celebrating with work colleagues on board the Hurlingham when eye-witnesses said he missed his footing disembarking. A post mortem at Westminster Coroners' Court today gave cause of death as drowning

Mike Brooke

POLICE have recovered the body of a 32-year-old restaurant worker from the Thames—five days after he slipped and fell getting off a pleasure cruiser.

Mexican Jair Fernandes Murillo had spent an evening celebrating with work colleagues on board the Hurlingham when eye-witnesses said he missed his footing disembarking.

A post mortem at Westminster Coroners’ Court today (August 27) gave cause of death as drowning.

Jair, a well-liked figure in East London’s Latino community, had been enjoying himself moments before the tragedy during an evening with work colleagues on his firm’s riverboat outing.

He worked for Leon’s fast food health restaurant chain which has eight branches in Central London including the East End at Spitalfields.

Police marine unit at Wapping and the Tower lifeboat crew were searching for five days before his body was recovered on August 22, near Waterloo Bridge.

One man who was with Jay on the boat trip said he slipped while getting off the boat and struck his head as he plunged into the water.

He described Jay as “the life and soul of the party” who made sure everyone was enjoying the evening.

“We are all in shock at what happened,” he said. “Jay was a lovely man, lovely personality, beautiful human being.”

Restaurant chain co-founder Henry Dimbleby also paid his tribute to Jay before his body was recovered.

“He really was a tremendous guy,” he told the East London Advertiser last week.

“We are spending a lot of time talking to his family. This is tragic.”

The CID at Belgravia is investigating with the Health and Safety Executive the circumstances surrounding the accident, while the Coastguard Agency’s Marine Accident Investigation unit is also looking into what happened on board the Hurlingham at Westminster Pier on August 17.

“We will be giving the police all the help they need in their investigation,” Mr Dimbleby added in a later statement.

“This was a horrible accident and everyone at Leon is deeply upset.

“We are a close-knit team and our thoughts are with the family.”

Eye-witnesses said passengers were being disembarked when Jay was seen squeezing through a gap and loosing his footing.

The Hurlingham, built in 1915, is owned by Thames Cruisers and is part their fleet of Thames pleasure cruisers.

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