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Coroner rules that death of diver was an ‘accident’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 12, 2014

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AN inquest into the death of a diver who was pulled unconscious from the sea off the coast of Northumberland has found his death was an accident.

Andrew Murkin, 56, from Burton, was diving with two friends off the Farne Islands on November 9 last year before tragedy struck.

Coroner Tony Brown, sitting at Berwick upon Tweed Magistrates’ Court, heard that after making all the usual ‘buddy checks’ on one another’s equipment, the three began their dive as usual.

After half an hour under the surface, Mr Murkin’s companions saw him in what appeared to them to be a ‘controlled ascent’ to the surface.

They released a special buoy to warn others that divers would be surfacing and followed him.

When they reached the surface, they found Mr Murkin to be unconscious, with his air supply still releasing air.

Just before 10.40am, two RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch immediately by Humber Coastguard following a radio message from a local dive-charter boat.

The message reported that Mr Murkin was said to be unconscious in the water and other divers on the boat were pulling him from the sea and carrying out CPR.

Both lifeboats launched without delay and one of the crew began carrying out emergency resuscitation procedures.

Meanwhile, the search and rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer had also been called and the diver was flown directly to Wansbeck General Hospital, while the aircraft’s paramedic winchman continued to provide emergency care for him.

Despite constant attempts at resuscitation and administrations of adrenaline, Mr Murkin was pronounced dead at 3.50pm.

Mr Murkin and his two friends were described as experienced, qualified divers.

His equipment was subsequently found by police to be in good working order.

Tony Brown, coroner for north Northumberland, gave a summary in which he described how a post-mortem examination found Mr Murkin had died as the result of a cardiorespiratory attack.

He is survived by his wife Paula and two sons.

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