Inquest hears Sea Palling rip current victim was visiting son from home in Poland

Part of the unpatrolled area of Sea Palling beach. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Part of the unpatrolled area of Sea Palling beach. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A swimmer who drowned off a Norfolk beach was on holiday visiting his son, an inquest heard this morning.

Leszek Puchala, 52, was at Sea Palling beach, when the tragedy unfolded.

He lived in Malyszyn Gorny in Poland.

'At the time of his death he was on holiday in England staying with his son,' said Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich.

'On July 23 Mr Puchala was swimming off the beach with his son at Sea Palling when he got into difficulty.

'He was recovered from the sea but despite attempts to rescue him, Mr Puchala was pronounced dead at the scene.'

His son Sebastian identified his father's body to police at the beach.

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A post-mortem examination at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital gave the preliminary medical cause of death as drowning.

The hearing was adjourned for a full inquest at the Norfolk Coroner's Court on October 28.

The coastguard said the incident unfolded after a group of swimmers got into difficulty in a rip tide.

Mr Puchala was pulled unconscious from the waves and could not be revived, while a second man, in his 20s, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and was understood to be in a stable condition.

Neil Ramsay, 44, of Norwich, was at the beach and tried to rescue the swimmers.

He said there was a Polish family who were shouting in Polish, but as he did not understand the language it was almost three minutes before he realised their shouts were of panic.

He said he wished he had realised and gone to help sooner.

'It would be great to have a universal cry for help,' he added.

Norfolk Police also issued safety advice in light of the beach tragedy.

If caught in a rip current, swimmers are advised not to fight it, and to swim with the current until you are free of it then return to shore.

If you cannot escape, float or tread water, and if you need help, call or wave for assistance.

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