Brave Brighton girl praised for trying to save her drowning father

Posted On 13 Apr 2011 at 11:58 pm

A 13-year-old girl was praised for her heroic attempt to save her drowning father at an inquest in Brighton today (Wednesday 13 April).

The inquest into the death of Kevin Reynolds heard how his daughter Grace followed her father into the stormy sea when he tried to save their Jack Russells from being swept away.

Mr Reynolds, 52, a plumber and heating engineer who was known as Wink to his friends, died on Saturday 8 January, having saved his dog Otto.

The body of Marley, their other dog which went into the rough and cold sea by the Palace Pier in Brighton, was washed ashore the next day.

At Brighton Coroner’s Court, passer-by Mark Briscoe was also praised for saving Grace and for going back into the water to try to save Mr Reynolds, of Queen’s Park Road, Brighton.

Dr Karen Henderson, the assistant deputy coroner of Brighton and Hove, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

She said: “The decision to enter the water to try to rescue the dogs was very much an instantaneous spur-of-the-moment decision.”

Dr Henderson said that if Mr Briscoe had not rescued Grace then there would have been a double tragedy.

She said that the response by the emergency services was timely and she praised the RNLI Brighton lifeboat helmsman Mark Bell and his crew for risking their lives.

The lifeboat crew pulled the father of five from the sea. He was flown to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton by the Solent Coastguard helicopter but could not be revived.

Mr Reynolds died from drowning.

Dr Henderson said: “Although the conditions were terrible he tried to do his best and for that he paid with his life.”

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