Kent

Paul Gallihawk: Triathlon drowning ruled an accident

Paul Gallihawk Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Paul Gallihawk was taking part in the triathlon to raise money for King's College Hospital

The family of a man who drowned while competing in his first triathlon say they still have unanswered questions after the inquest into his death.

Paul Gallihawk, who was 34, died in Leybourne Lake Country Park in Kent on 29 August during an event organised by Ocean Lake Triathlon.

The inquest heard Mr Gallihawk's death was caused by immersion.

Coroner Patricia Harding recorded a verdict of accidental death but could not say for certain why he drowned.

Mr Gallihawk's family, who were watching the event, raised the alarm after he failed to collect his bike for the cycling stage of the triathlon.

His body was found by divers almost 90m from the start line three days later.

Image caption Search teams found Mr Gallihawk's body in the lake three days after he drowned

The inquest heard he had epilepsy but had not had a seizure for more than a decade, although he had experienced dizzy spells and headaches during his training.

Ms Harding said it was possible he fainted in the water or could have been accidentally hit by another swimmer.

But, because nobody saw him getting into difficulties, she could not determine exactly what happened.

Following the hearing, his father Malcolm said: "He was a special man. He left us far too early and we are grieving still.

"We are no further forward after today than when we went in there. It's dreadful."

Mr Gallihawk was taking part in the triathlon to raise money for King's College Hospital in London, which had looked after his father.

A JustGiving page he set up raised more than £18,000.

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