Father-of-seven drowned trying to save his daughter, 13, and son, 10, after hearing them scream for help while paddle-boarding, inquest hears
- Jonathan Stevens dived into sea off Barmouth beach in North Wales last August
- He jumped in after spotting two of his children in trouble while paddle-boarding
- But an inquest heard the 36-year-old was pulled out by tide as he went to help
- Rescuers saved daughter Lacey, 13, and son Jack, 10, but could not reach him
A hero father-of-seven drowned after jumping into the sea to rescue two of his children after hearing them screaming for help, an inquest has heard.
Brave Jonathan Stevens, 36, ran ‘full sprint’ into the sea after spotting two of his children in trouble while they were paddle-boarding off Barmouth beach, North Wales, in August last year.
But his attempts to save daughter Lacey, 13, and son Jack, 10, ended in tragedy when he was pulled out by the tide.
Rescuers managed to save the children, but were unable to reach Mr Stevens in time.
When they pulled Mr Stevens out of the water he unresponsive. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead soon after.
Speaking after an inquest into his death, Mr Stevens’ partner, Laura Burford, 35, praised rescuers for their efforts, saying ‘I know you did all you could’.
Brave Jonathan Stevens (pictured here with Laura and four of his children – including Lacey (right) and Jack (bottom centre)), 36, ran ‘full sprint’ into the sea after spotting two of his children in trouble while paddle-boarding off Barmouth beach in North Wales in August last year.
At an inquest into his death, Mr Stevens’ partner, Laura Burford (pictured with Mr Stevens), 35, praised rescuers for their efforts, saying ‘I know you did all you could’
Laura also revealed she had only learned of the tragedy when she spoke to daughter Lauren, 11, on the phone.
She said: ‘She was hysterical and screaming. She told me Lacey and Jack were in the sea and were drowning.’
Laura said lifeguards later told her what had happened. She said: ‘They explained they had managed to get Lacey out of the sea but they couldn’t find Jack.
‘Both he and Lacey had been underwater and Jonathan had raced into the sea to rescue them but the current had been strong and he’d used all his strength in trying to save them.
‘The lifeguards had managed to pull Jack out of the water. He was shaken up but okay.
‘They had found Jonathan too but he was in a bad way and they were doing CPR on him. He’d used every bit of his strength to try and save the children.’
The inquest, held yesterday in Caernarfon, Wales, had earlier heard how Mr Stevens, of Telford, Shropshire, ran into the sea when he saw his children struggling in the water.
Off-duty coastguard officer Alexander Hill said he saw the children in trouble 30-40 metres out and dialled 999.
He said: ‘I saw a man run full sprint past me and in to the sea but he kept drifting away from the kids and then disappeared.
‘By now they were around 50 to 70 metres out and all three of them were about 20 metres away from each other.’
Mr Hill and a beach warden ran into the water and rescued Lacey and brought her back to the beach.
At the same time another beach warden, Marcus Hewlett, got to Jack and pulled him back to shore.
Mr Hewlett said: ‘When I reached him he said ‘thank you but you need to find my dad’.
‘I brought him back to the shore and went back in towards where he saw the young boy had been looking and I saw someone floating in the distance.
‘I approached him and picked him up but there was no response. I can’t say how far out I was but I know it felt like it took ages to get back to the beach.
An inquest heard Jonathan, of Telford, Shropshire, ran into the water when he saw his children struggling in the sea off Barmouth beach in North Wales
Off-duty coastguard officer Alexander Hill said he saw the children in trouble 30-40 meters out and dialled 999. Pictured: A helicopter was called in to support the rescue operation
‘I tried to get him back as fast as I could but it was a struggle because I was trying to keep his head above the water.’
Jonathan was airlifted to Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital in Bangor, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Acting Senior Coroner Katie Sutherland ruled Mr Stevens’ death as a result of ‘misadventure’.
She said: ‘Mr Stevens entered water to save his children and got in to difficulty himself.
‘In the attempt to save the children he became submerged in water, was brought to shore but sadly pronounced deceased at A&E.
‘On the basis that he entered sea to rescue his children and then he got in to difficulty his death is a result of misadventure, a deliberate act that unintentionally went wrong.
‘It is a truly tragic case, he lost his own life trying to save his own children.
‘It really shows the dangers of sea and our coastline, even when conditions appear mild they may not be.
‘I would like to echo the thanks to the witnesses and those who risked their lives that day to try to save his life.’
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