Teen, 18, drowned after rescuing relatives in strong current, inquest hears

A teenager drowned after helping to rescue his young nieces and nephews, an inquest has heard.

Callum Baker-Osborne was on holiday in Poole, Dorset on July 26, 2021, when a number of family members were swept into deep water by a strong tidal current.

Mr Baker-Osborne, 18, entered the water to help his mother, sister and young nieces and nephews, but then got into difficulty himself.

The RNLI and emergency services carried out extensive searches but his body was found around a mile away at Lake Pier in Poole Harbour four days later.

Lake View Pier in Poole Harbour where Callum Baker-Osborne’s body was found (Alamy/PA)
Lake View Pier in Poole Harbour where Callum Baker-Osborne’s body was found (Alamy/PA)

The inquest into the death of Mr Baker-Osborne, who worked as a builder in his home town of Coventry, Warwickshire, continued on Thursday.

Coroner Richard Middleton heard evidence from pathologist Dr Robert Blahut who carried out the post-mortem examination and determined Mr Baker-Osborne’s medical cause of death was drowning.

His brother Daniel Osborne tearfully asked whether he would have been in any pain as he drowned.

Dr Blahut replied: “It’s very difficult to answer, but given the circumstances he would have lost consciousness pretty quickly, and as consciousness goes, the perception of the pain goes as well. I believe the entire process happened within minutes.”

Mr Baker-Osborne’s mother Ann-Marie Osborne, sister Samantha Osborne-Ward, and Mr Osborne, gave evidence at the inquest at Bournemouth Civic Centre.

Neither his mother or sister could swim and had only entered the water up to around knee depth to keep an eye on the children and grandchildren paddling.

The extended family group, made up of around 30 adults and children, found not all of their caravans at the Haven Rockley Park Holiday Park were ready so decided to spend time at the beach until they could collect their keys.

Sister Miss Osborne-Ward said: “Callum was so excited to get there and start having fun.

“Out of everyone he could swim so for him to not come out of the water that was the hardest thing for us as a family. He would go swimming at least once a week.”

Mrs Osborne and Miss Osborne-Ward were then swept away by a strong current along with several of Mrs Osborne’s grandchildren.

Josh Ayles, who worked at the Rockley Watersports club as an instructor, was on a powerboat supporting customers when he noticed people were in trouble in the water.

He pulled Mrs Osborne and two or three children onto his boat and took them to shore.

Two other boats helped to pull people out of the water while eyewitness Sam Cowell, who was crabbing with his young son, and Rockley Watersports training and development manager Elizabeth McMaster, jumped into the water with a life ring to aid the rescue.

Mr Baker-Osborne helped to lift his younger relatives out of the water but then “drifted away” and was not seen again.

Mr Ayles said it was well known locally the tide is very strong, and that the depth of the water drops sharply by a number of feet as the beach reaches the dredged boat channel.

The inquest continues.