A coroner has ruled that two brothers who were swept out to sea off Cornwall last September drowned by accident.

Charles Allen, 21, and Dr Robert Allen, 30, from Bristol were fishing off rocks at Treyarnon Cove, near Padstow, in north Cornwall on 4 September last year.

Today, the inquest at Cornwall Coroner's Court in Truro heard from the brother-in-law of the two men. Andrew Thornton was with the two brothers on that fateful day.

Robert, a research associate at the University of Bath, was hit by a "freak wave" and swept away by the current. His younger brother Charles was also washed out to sea when he tried to save him. The pair were unable to swim to safety.

A major search and rescue operation recovered Charles from the water, but he died later in hospital. The body of Robert was found a week later near Booby's Bay.

The coroner recorded that both brothers had died an "accidental death" by drowning.

The RNLI says it shows just how unpredictable the sea can be.

'These guys had been down to that fishing spot many times but on that day the swell was building the tide had gone out they moved that little bit closer to try to land a fish and within seconds that turned into tragedy for two brothers and the family have lost two sons.''


As a direct result of this incident, the RNLI has launched an education programme to improve angling safety:

'In amongst the angling community we're talking about the importance of wearing a life jacket not when you're out at sea on a boat but when you're close to shore on the rocks because these things can happen quickly and also appropriate means of calling for help and that might be a locator beacon or vhf radio don't rely on mobile phone signal that's patchy around our coastline at best.''


The RNLI is now investigating whether public safety equipment could be installed at the bay where the tragedy happened.