Brit couple drowned Portugal woman swept riptide fiance save inquest

British couple drowned in Portugal when woman was swept away by riptide and her fiance tried in vain to save her, inquest hears

  • Kim Fletcher, 34, and Danny Johnson, 33, were at a beach at Zambujeira do Mar
  • Mr Johnson got into difficulty near a rocky area as he tried to save Miss Fletcher 
  • Emergency services were called as several surfers scrambled to help the pair  
  • Inquest at Stoke-on-Trent Coroner’s Court heard both were good swimmers 

A British couple drowned in Portugal after the woman was swept away by the a riptide and her fiancé tried in vain to rescue her.

Kim Fletcher, 34, and Danny Johnson, 33, had been holidaying at a spiritual retreat when their group went to the beach at Zambujeira do Mar in the municipality of Odemira, Alentejo region.

The couple, who had a young daughter together as well as Miss Fletcher’s older daughter, were described as ‘two beautiful souls’ who lit up the lives of others.

Kim Fletcher, 34, and Danny Johnson, 33, who leave behind a daughter they had together as well as Miss Fletcher’s eldest daughter, had been holidaying at a spiritual retreat when their group went to the beach at Zambujeira do Mar

An inquest at Stoke-on-Trent Coroner’s Court heard on Thursday that both parents were known to be good swimmers.

But when Miss Fletcher, a yoga teacher, went into the water, she is thought to have been dragged away by the riptide.

Witnesses described seeing Mr Johnson go to her aid before he also got into difficulties near a rocky area.

Onlookers called the emergency services as several surfers scrambled to help the pair.

Nuno Fonseca, who recalled how the sea conditions seemed ‘quite agitated with a strong swell’ that afternoon, said there was a ‘frenzy’ as people tried to reach them.

Mr Fonseca: ‘One of the individuals was rescued on a stretcher and given first aid. The other individual was rescued by helicopter.’

Witnesses described seeing Mr Johnson go to her aid before he also got into difficulties near a rocky area. Emergency services were called as several surfers scrambled to help the pair

Miss Fletcher, from Stoke-on-Trent, was the first to be brought to shore.

Mr Johnson, a rap artist and security officer from Madeley, Staffordshire, was found in part of the cove that was difficult to reach, making the operation to help him trickier. Despite people’s best efforts, both drowned.

The inquest heard the couple had been eagerly anticipating their beach trip on October 6 last year.

The inquest at Stoke-on-Trent Coroner’s Court heard the couple (above) had been looking forward to their beach trip on October 6 last year

The inquest heard on that particular day, the sea was rather rough and it was quite windy. It was also quite busy (stock image) 

Peter Barrett, who owned the retreat, said in a statement: ‘He was really excited about going as it was a lovely location. It was a glorious day.

‘On that particular day, the sea was rather rough and it was quite windy. It was also quite busy as there were a lot of visitors on the beach.’

Mr Barrett had gone off to buy food when he received a frantic call from his son, alerting him to the drama in the sea. He was told Miss Fletcher appeared to have been ‘clinging to a rock’.

The couple, who had a young daughter together as well as Miss Fletcher’s older daughter, were described as ‘two beautiful souls’ who lit up the lives of others 

The inquest heard there were no lifeguards on duty at the beach as the official bathing season had ended.

But Mr Barrett added: ‘Everyone who was there was able to do everything they could to help out.’

North Staffordshire coroner Andrew Barkley said he was sadly unable to answer all the families’ questions about what happened that day.

That particular stretch of beach in the Zambujeira do Mar area has no lifeguard service after September 15 when the area is deemed out of season

Mr Barkley said: ‘The sea was turbulent, it was rough. For some reason we are not clear about, but we can only assume that she went into the sea for a swim, Kimberley was first in the water.

‘She got into difficulty. Unable to extract herself from the water, she was getting pulled further out. Daniel takes to the water to try and rescue her. He himself gets into difficulty.’

Mr Barkley concluded that both deaths were due to misadventure. Since their deaths, thousands of pounds have been raised in the couple’s memory.

Source: Read Full Article