Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 19:23 UK

Man died in 'dangerous' freedive

A man from Somerset died after attempting a 33.5m (110 ft) freedive without air in the Bahamas in 2005.

Joe Garraway, 26, of Fitzhead, was one of nine crew members working on a private yacht when he drowned off the coast of New Providence.

The inquest at Taunton heard freediving was an increasingly popular sport with a high mortality rate.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said Mr Garraway died doing what he enjoyed.

'Health and safety'

Coroner Michael Rose added: "It is dangerous freediving to these depths. It should be undertaken when one has people stood by.

But Mr Rose said he was "loath to give a homily to the young" on health and safety issues.

Mr Garraway was taking pictures of a shipwreck with a new underwater camera and lost consciousness as he ascended from a 33.5m dive unassisted by air tanks, the court heard

The inquest on Tuesday was told yacht master Steve Burns dropped Mr Garraway off at a wreck buoy when the ship was between New Providence and the city of Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahamas.

When Mr Burns returned 50 minutes later he found Mr Garraway face down in the water.

'Resuscitation attempt'

The crew attempted to resuscitate him but the 26-year-old was later pronounced dead at Princess Margaret Hospital, in New Providence.

Giving evidence diving sergeant Bob Randall said an unaccompanied Mr Garraway was freediving, an increasingly popular sport with a "high mortality rate".

Sgt Randall said: "During his final and fatal dive, he reached 33.5m in 55 seconds, with an immediate ascent towards the surface.

"He rose about 10m and after one minute and 26 seconds his ascent changed. It slowed before the diver reached the surface after one minute and 44 seconds.

"It's at this time Mr Garraway lost consciousness and subsequently drowned."

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22 May 04 |  Gloucestershire


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