A fisherman tragically drowned after being thrown from his boat when it struck a sandbank in the River Dee, an inquest heard.
Christopher Mossman, was reported missing when his six metre inflatable boat was found unmanned after he spent the day cockling in the Dee Estuary on August 28 last year.
His body was recovered the following day near the RNLI North Parade Lifeboat Station in Hoylake.
An inquest held at Ruthin County Hall today heard Mr Mossman had gone out as usual from Greenfield Docks to the Salisbury Middle area of the Dee Estuary, near Hilbre Island.
Fisherman Richard Pullen, who knew Mr Mossman from cockling in the area, said he had seen him out fishing that day, along with about 15 others, who all left the dock around the same time.
Mr Pullen saw Mr Mossman heading back to the docks before the others at around 4pm, but on his return, around half an hour later, he found Mr Mossman’s boat floating in shallow water with no-one aboard.
The inquest heard the boat’s engine and steering system was found to be badly damaged.
Mr Pullen returned to the dock to see if anyone had picked Mr Mossman up off his boat, but when he realised they had not, he raised the alarm and went back out to search for his colleague.
By then, other fishermen returning from the area found his boat near to a sandbank, described by cockler Michael Arrowsmith as “Dead Man’s Walk” due to its perils.
Mr Arrowsmith, who had known Mr Mossman since he was a child, told the inquest he began searching around the bank for his friend, but “knew something was very wrong.”
“I felt sick,” he said.
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“Straight away I didn’t think he was alive.”
He said it had not been Mr Mossman’s practice to wear a life jacket, and that he was unable to swim.
He searched the area through the night and into the following day, when Mr Mossman’s body was eventually found.
An examination of the boat by Mike Fox, of Fox Associates in Caernarfon and Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association (YDSA) found it was likely the engine had struck the side of a sandbank, causing a “considerable impact”.
As a result, it is understood the engine rose up and over tipped, striking the steering console where Mr Mossman was sat and knocked him overboard.
Mr Fox, said: “If he was travelling at even moderate speed, it could have ejected the operator over the side of the craft.”
A postmortem found fractures to Mr Mossman’s leg and evidence of a serious head injury.
No alcohol or drugs were found in his system.
Mr Gittins said the cause of death was drowning and recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Mr Mossman’s devastated daughter, Molly Ann Mossman told the inquest her dad had been fishing since leaving school in Flint at 15 and was at his happiest when “by or on the water.”
“He would be there seven days a week if he could,” she said.
Describing her dad as a “kind person” and “family man who loved us all”, she added: “He will be sadly missed by us all.”
-- to www.dailypost.co.uk