THE danger of a flooded beck that swept a teenage Army recruit to his death was misjudged by his training team, a coroner ruled yesterday.

The risks were “not fully appreciated” before Private Andrew Borkertas stepped into the swollen stream on Hipswell Moor, near Catterick Garrison, during the last phase of his training.

The 17-year-old was one of several recruits knocked off their feet as they forded Risedale Beck during the eight-mile combat fitness test in June last year.

The others scrambled out or were saved by colleagues, but Private Borkertas, from Grantham, Lincolnshire, was swept away. His body was found 150m downstream the following day.

Coroner Geoff Fell, sitting in Harrogate, recorded a narrative verdict and praised the bravery of the recruits and instructors involved in the incident.

Two other platoons had successfully negotiated the beck earlier but had failed to warn the third of the conditions, and it was led into the water by PT instructor Corporal Jason Dudley.

Mr Fell noted that Cpl Dudley was trained for risk assessment in gyms and not for such outdoor exercises.

The inquest had heard how two months’ worth of rain had fallen in the previous 48 hours, causing the beck – normally a trickle – to flood.

Experts described it as a onein- 25-year event.

However, since the tragedy the Army had revised procedures.

“Lessons have been learnt and steps taken,” said Simon Hilton, for the Ministry of Defence.

Pte Borkertas’s family has been left shattered by the tragedy and his grandmother Shirley Beardsley said: “We feel Andrew’s platoon was not adequately supervised as they crossed the beck.

“Far worse, however, we feel the decision to cross the beck in the first place was flawed and obviously ill-considered.”

However, she added: “We take some comfort from the fact lessons have already been learned by the Army and that among a catalogue of remedial measures this route and crossing will never be used by recruits in these circumstances ever again.”

The Army will now hold a board of inquiry into the incident.

“As a result of our own investigations to date, the Ministry of Defence has introduced enhanced procedures to minimise the risk of such a tragic accident recurring,”

said a spokesman.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to praise the bravery of those of Andrew’s colleagues who valiantly tried to save his life, and the dedication of all those who assisted in the search and rescue operation.”