Young Norfolk climber who died in Vietnam was Facebook messaging his girlfriend in the minutes before his death
- Credit: Submitted
The girlfriend of a 22-year-old climber found dead in Vietnam pleaded with him to get help via Facebook, an inquest heard today.
Aiden Webb from Attleborough, Norfolk, had set out on a solo ascent of Mount Fansipan in northern Vietnam when he tried to make his way around a landslide and lost the trail path.
His girlfriend Bluebell Baughan was also in Vietnam at the time and stayed in contact with him via text and Facebook after he initially slipped and cut his knee and bicep.
'I was becoming very fraught when he said he had become lost and couldn't find the trail,' she said. 'We realised the last cable car was gone and he had to spend the night on the mountain.'
She said he only had a pair of shorts on, was shivering and wanted to find shelter.
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'I told him it was too dark and dangerous to move,' she said.
She kept messaging him into the early hours of June 4 and at 3.29am Mr Webb sent a message to say he had decided to try going back down the mountain on a trail beside a stream with waterfalls.
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In a final text message sent at 6.18am he agreed to let Miss Baughan raise the alarm. Her reply failed to deliver.
The body of Mr Webb was found in water in a ravine almost a week later in an area that local police said had many cliffs, deep gorges and slippery surfaces.
Local police concluded that Mr Webb had drowned while unconscious after a fall in water.
A post-mortem examination was conducted after his body was repatriated to the UK, but failed to establish a cause of death - partly because the body had been embalmed.
The examination noted cuts and scratches caused by climbing, but no fractures or haemorrhages.
Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, recorded an open conclusion at today's hearing at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich, which was not attended by any of Mr Webb's family.
'We know that he was trying to climb Fansipan mountain alone,' said Ms Blake. 'We know that he got into difficulties, he was injured and had a deep cut on his arm.
'He said he badly hurt his knee and couldn't move very well, and we know he was found in a stream.
'The medical cause of death was unascertained as he was embalmed.'
She extended her condolences to the family of Mr Webb, who had been a student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
His parents Simone and Trevor Webb said in a written statement: 'Aiden was such a joy to be around.
'We're incredibly close as a family and feel privileged to have been his parents.'
They praised everyone who had been involved in the recovery of their son's body.