TWO British mums drowned while on holiday in Spain when one tried to save the other after they were caught in a fierce night-time storm, an inquest has heard, agencies report. Tragic Lisa Coggins, 35, and pal Tracey Aston, 32, died after they were swept out to sea when they were hit by giant 15ft-high waves.
The pair had been for a night-out with friends in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava when Tracey went for a dip at 2.45am on October 1 last year. Tracey removed her skirt while her friend, Joanne Worth, 33, stripped off her dress before they both entered the “calm waters” which reached “just to their calves”.
But moments later a giant wave knocked the women over and Tracey was dragged out to sea while Joanne was pushed back towards the shore. Joanne was hauled to safety but mum-of-two Lisa, who worked at Costco, dived in to reach Tracey but she was also swept out to sea.
A local barman raised the alarm, but after 20 minutes the women, both from Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, had disappeared from view. Birmingham coroner’s court heard their bodies were found six hours later a mile-and-a-half from where they went missing. The inquest heard the women had been on a four-day break with sisters Italia Kilmister, 30, Grazia Sassona, 33, and their friend Joanne Worth, when the tragedy happened.
In a witness statement, Miss Kilmister, said: “Two of the girls, Joanne and Tracey, ran down to the sea and I followed behind to take a photo. “Both ran a few steps and then both of them fell down and couldn’t regain their footing. “A few waves threw them around. I could now see something was wrong. A large wave came and pushed Joanne towards the shore, but took Tracey backwards and out.
“I took Joanne in and calmed her down.” Miss Kilmister added: “Lisa came down to see what was going on. Suddenly she was pulled down by the water, that wasn’t any higher than her calves. “Tracey was trying to swim towards the shore. The barman said not to swim against the current, so she went away from the shore.
“The lifeguards came and had torches pointed out to sea. Tracey held onto a life buoy, then a large wave came and knocked her off the buoy. “I saw her tread water for about 20 minutes and then she went under.”
A post-mortem found Tracey had 1.45g of alcohol per litre of blood and Lisa had 1.9g per litre of blood at the time of their deaths – around twice the legal drink-drive limit. Coroner Louise Hunt recorded a conclusion of accidental death due to asphyxia for both women. She said: “This is just an absolute tragedy when a young woman went with friends into the sea and was just not able to judge how rough the sea was in such a shallow part of the bay.
“For both sets of family no-one can understand the pain and grief you are all suffering. “I do hope you can remember the fun loving Tracy who loved her family and Tracy, how she was very loving but you knew where you stood with her.
“I hope you can remember these people, and not this tragedy.”
Verdict: Accidental death.