Man drowned after drifting out onto lake on air bed

Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned in a lake at Bawsey Pits, near KIng's Lynn Picture: Ilja Jevtusenk

Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned in a lake at Bawsey Pits, near KIng's Lynn Picture: Ilja Jevtusenko - Credit: Archant

A 22-year-old man drowned at a Norfolk beauty spot after he drifted across a lake on an airbed, an inquest heard.

Kristers Bednarskis died at Bawsey Country Park, near King's Lynn, on August 8, 2020. Senior coroner Jaqueline Lake heard Mr Bednarskis, a warehouse operative who lived in Peterborough, had travelled to the park with his girlfriend Gabriele Dulksnyte.

Kristers Bednarskis (second from right) with friends at a barbecue Picture; Ilja Jevtusenko

Kristers Bednarskis (second from right) with friends at a barbecue a few days before he died - Credit: Ilja Jevtusenko

The couple had been sunbathing on an inflatable mattress in shallow water at the edge of a flooded quarry, when they were carried away from the bank by the wind.

Miss Dulksnyte said in a statement she decided to swim ashore to get something to eat. When she arrived, she looked back and saw Mr Bednarskis had slipped off the mattress and was in difficulty in the water.

Emergency services on the scene at Bawsey Country Park, near King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Emergency services on the scene at Bawsey Country Park, near King's Lynn - Credit: Ian Burt

She said she called for help and a group of men swam out to try to help Mr Bednarskis but by the time they reached him he had gone beneath the surface. 

Mr Bednarskis's body was later recovered by police and firefighters using a boat. A pathologist concluded he died from drowning and said he had found no traces of alcohol or drugs in his system.

One of the warning signs at the big lake at Bawsey Pits Country Park where people are swimming and p

A sign at Bawsey Country Park warns people to stay out of the water - Credit: Denise Bradley

In a statement read out at the hearing Stephen Bacon, who bought the former Bawsey Pits in 2016, said he had improved signage around the lakes and employed a warden.

Most Read

A 41-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy died at the park on the same day in July 2013.

West Norfolk council health and safety officers carried out an investigation after Mr Bednarskis's death. Community safety manager Andy Nederpel said there was clear evidence Mr Bacon had carried out improvements to the site and was doing "all he reasonably can".

Children and families swimming in the small lake at Bawsey Pits Country Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Children and families swimming in the small lake at Bawsey Pits Country Park. - Credit: Denise Bradley

He added: "The only way to avoid another drowning at Bawsey Country Park is for the public to follow the rules."

Mrs Lake concluded Mr  Bednarskis's death was misadventure. She added: "People do have to take responsibility for their own safety. If there are warning signs, they are there for a reason and should not be flouted by the public."

The warning signs which are around the carpark and both lakes at Bawsey Pits Country Park. Picture:

A warning sign in the car park at Bawsey Country Park - Credit: Denise Bradley


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter