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Absence of lifeguards a factor in death of strong swimmer, inquest hears

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich


An ‘outgoing’ father-of-two drowned after getting caught in a rip current while swimming on a beach near New York.

Timothy Osborne. 46, who grew up in Broxted in Essex, died on September 16 last year while swimming in waters off Coopers Beach in the Town of Southampton, Suffolk County, USA.

In an inquest yesterday, the coroner concluded an absence of lifeguards on the beach may have contributed to his death.

Mr Osborne had lived in Singapore for 14 years after becoming head of communications for financial services company Moody’s.

The inquest heard he had travelled to New York for a business trip and decided to visit the beach with a friend in the days before.

The pair had gone for a swim and both were caught in the strong current and washed out to sea. The hearing heard one witness estimated Mr Osborne had been dragged 75 yards from the shore, describing the waters as ‘treacherous and really dangerous’.

Three good samaritans swam out to try and rescue Mr Osborne and managed to drag him to the shoreline and administer CPR but could not revive him. His friend managed to swim back to the beach.

Mr Osborne’s father Jeremy, who lives in Groton in Suffolk, told the hearing his son was a ‘strong swimmer’, and questioned why there were no life guards on the beach that day.

He said the day after his son’s death, a new sign was placed on the beach prohibiting anyone from swimming.

He told the inquest: “I would like to say that, speaking to Timothy’s widow, she endorses all we have said here.
“She believes, as we stated, there could have been more done to stop people swimming in what was clearly a dangerous situation.”

Dr Sharpstone gave a narrative conclusion to the inquest.

He said: “I am going to conclude Tim died from drowning after being caught in a rip current.

“His death may have been contributed to by an absence of lifeguards on duty that day.”

Following the hearing Jeremy Osborne said: “Tim was a very outgoing person who enjoyed and loved sport. His main sport was outrigger canoeing. He had started a club in London to it and had carried on enjoying the sport around the world.”

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