Belfast Telegraph

Drowning inquest: family had concerns at marina

The family of a man who drowned in Bangor Marina had raised concerns about the facility after the tragedy, an inquest has heard.

Alexander McConnell, from Seahill Road, Craigavad, died in September 2010.

Witnesses told the inquest held in Belfast that they had spotted the 70-year-old keen sailor in a Bangor bar that evening.

He was seen later by marina staff entering the marina at around 1.30am.

The retired gas fitter was last seen staggering close to the harbour. It is believed he planned to board and spend the night either on board is son's or a friend's boat moored there.

The inquest heard, however, that it remains unclear how Mr McConnell fell into the water.

A man taking an early morning walk spotted his body in the water a few hours later and raised the alarm.

Coroner Suzanne Anderson was told he had a high level of alcohol in his body, equivalent to three times the legal drink-driving limit.

Brian McConnell, his son, said that the marina was “excellent”, but after his father’s death his family was worried about the ratio of fixed ladders to berths for the boats, and their positioning.

Marinas in the UK voluntarily follow a code of practice issued by the Yachting Harbour Association (YHA). The inquest heard this code was being complied with by Bangor Marina at the time of the incident.

An additional nine ladders were added to the marina following Mr McConnell's death.

The manager of the marina, Andrew Jaggers, said they were adhering to the code of practice at the time of the incident.

Ms Anderson adjourned the inquest to consider her findings.

Belfast Telegraph

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