A windsurfer whose body was found on a Lancashire beach 18 hours after he vanished in fog was swept to his death by a powerful ebb tide, an inquest in Preston decided.
Company boss Giles Stothert, 61, disappeared after going out into the River Lune estuary at Glasson Dock in January in “terrible” conditions.
Three fellow windsurfers reported him missing when he failed to return. And after a large scale air and sea search through the night, he was found washed up on Middleton Sands in Morecame Bay the following day.
The inquest heard a post mortem showed Mr Stothert died from drowning. There were no traces of alcohol or drugs in his body.
Area coroner Claire Hammond ruled the businessman had been caught by an ebbing tide and had been unable to get back to shore. Her conclusion was that Mr Stothert died as a result of “misadventure.”
The father-of-two, described by friends as a “windsurfing fanatic,” set out into the Lune estuary with three friends in foggy conditions on a Sunday afternoon in late January. He was last seen at around 4.20pm, but failed to come out of the water when the others made shore.
The emergency services were summoned and a huge search and rescue operation swung into action. But by 3am the Coastguard, RNLI, mountain rescue and police helicopter were stood down until daylight, when the search resumed. His body was spotted at 10.15am on the Monday, further up the shoreline at Middleton Sands.
At the time Kevin Jackson, operations manager at Morecambe RNLI, said conditions had been “terrible” when Mr Stothert, of Saltcote, Glasson Dock, and his friends went into the water.
The owner of Stothert Decorative Cushions on the White Cross Business Park in Lancaster, was described by employees as “a fantastic person” and “a kind, fair and honest boss.”