Chris Taylor inquest

The inquest heard that life buoys were missing from the River Avon the night of the student's death, and that the initial emergency call was missed by the police dispatch operator.

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River Avon drowning: passer-by tried to save student

Christopher Taylor was 21 when he died. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A passer-by tried in vain to save the life of a Bath University student who had fallen in the River Avon at the end of a night out.

Christopher Taylor, who was 21, was walking by the fast-flowing river in the early hours of January 22nd, 2014.

Mr Taylor, a talented tennis player, was re-taking the second year of his Chemistry degree at the University of Bath. He had spent the evening celebrating the end of his exams.

A passer-by, Luke Thompson, told Avon Coroner’s Court he called 999 after hearing someone calling for help at about 3.30am.

The spot, near Sainsbury’s supermarket, has a steep bank around 10 feet high.

I found him in the river, holding on to a branch at the bottom. I called out to him to make sure he was talking to me. He was really clinging on for life. He really was fighting.

He said his name was Chris. I told him to not let go. He said he fell into the river, he said he wanted to get out. We talked until the police arrived.”

– Luke Thompson

Mr Thompson told him a police officer had to stop him jumping in to help the student.

A Home Office pathologist said Mr Taylor died from drowning. The amount of alcohol in his blood system was double that of the drink-drive limit.

The inquest continues.

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