Inquest finds Farne Island diver’s death was an accident

The Farne Islands seen from Seahouses beach.
The Farne Islands seen from Seahouses beach.

An inquest today into the death of a diver who was pulled unconscious from the sea off the Farne Islands in November has found his death was an accident.

Andrew Murkin, 56, from Burton on Trent in Staffordshire, was diving with two friends on a visit to the north Northumberland coast on November 9 last year.

All three men were described as experienced, qualified divers.

After making all the usual ‘buddy checks’ on one another’s equipment, the three began their dive as usual.

After half-an-hour under the surface, Mr Murkin’s companions saw him in what appeared to them to be a ‘controlled ascent’ to the surface.

They released a special buoy to warn others that divers would be surfacing, and followed him.

When they reached the surface, they found Mr Murkin to be unconscious, with his air supply still releasing air.

His equipment was subsequently found by police to be in good working order.

Their boat operator called out RNLI lifeboats from the Humber Coastguard.

Meanwhile, a search and rescue helicopter was dispatched from its base at RAF Boulmer. Mr Murkin was taken to Wansbeck Hospital, with the aircraft’s onboard paramedic providing emergency care.

Despite constant attempts at resuscitation and administrations of adrenaline, Mr Murkin was pronounced dead at 3.50pm.

Tony Brown, coroner for north Northumberland, gave his summary, in which he described how a post-mortem found that Andrew Murkin had died as the result of a cardiorespiratory attack.

He is survived by his wife, Paula, and two sons.