South Norfolk man drowned but saved his nephew’s life, inquest told

A Norfolk sailor who drowned after the yacht he was sailing ran into trouble sacrificed his own life to save his nephew.

Former airline pilot Jonathan Farrar, who lost his life during a rescue attempt, was yesterday commended by a coroner for his selfless act of bravery that enabled a younger man to survive.

Mr Farrar, 64, died during a dramatic rescue attempt in stormy weather off the North African coast.

He was travelling with his nephew, Timothy Hall, 43, on a sailing trip from Portugal to Lanzarote when they got into trouble in stormy north Atlantic waters.

A Norwich inquest heard yesterday that Mr Farrar, who was known as Fred, 'insisted' that his nephew go first when a rescue ship threw a life ring down into the water.

While Mr Hall was saved, Mr Farrar, of Northgate, Harleston, drowned on November 29, the inquest heard.

A statement by Mr Hall, who is believed to live in Wales and could not attend the inquest, was read out to the court by Norfolk coroner William Armstrong.

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In the statement Mr Hall said that he and his uncle – a retired airline pilot – had left Penich, in Portugal, on Mr Farrar's yacht, Snooker, on November 23.

Five days later the storms and the sea became very rough and the motor stopped because water had flooded the engine room, he said.

Mr Farrar put out a Mayday and moments later a Norwegian ship, the Tordis Knutsen, responded and said they could with them in about an hour's time.

Mr Hall said in his statement: 'We were sitting on the back of the Snooker in six-metre waves with our safety harnesses on as the crew on the Tordis threw down life lines from the side of the ship.

'I managed to grab a life ring on the end of a rope that had landed on the deck of Snooker and climbed in to it. I offered it to my uncle but he insisted that I go first.

'He then told me to inflate my life jacket and jump into the sea with the crew of the Tordis pulling me.'

Mr Hall then climbed a wooden ladder that the crew had put down the side of the ship and was rescued, but it was too late for Mr Farrar who drowned in the water and was pronounced dead on the ship.

At the inquest Mr Armstrong said he had been 'struck' by the words in Mr Hall's statement, that Mr Farrar had wanted his nephew to 'go first'.

Mr Armstrong said: 'Fred was a