Man died after falling from cliff while fishing in Cornwall

The friends were keen fishermen and regularly went to Tintagel. Credit: PA images

A keen fisherman from Romania died after falling from a cliff and drowning while on a day out with friends at a popular beauty spot in Cornwall.

Laurentiu-Ionut Nitu, 35, was on a fishing trip at Tintagel when it's believed he fell from a cliff and was swept away by the current.

An inquest into his death was held on Monday 30 November. It was heard his two friends felt guilty they couldn't save his life.

One of them said, "I saw him try to swim and shout for help, but the current was too strong and he was pulled further away."

They said they took off one of their shoes, tied it to a fishing hook and cast it out to Laurentiu to try and pull him back in.

Laurentiu's friends said the weather conditions weren't very good on the day of their trip. Credit: PA images

The 35-year-old, who moved to Cornwall from Romania, worked at an abbatoir in Treburley near Launceston.

On Tuesday 4 August 2020 he went to Tintagel with friends Liviu Cojan and Petrica Moraru, who agreed at the inquest the weather conditions weren't suitable for fishing.

From the car park they climbed down some rocks near Dunderhole Point and fished from a ledge.

Liviu told the inquest: "Equipment-wise we had three rods, no safety equipment, life jackets, we didn't feel we needed them, we were not overly experienced fishermen."

Laurentiu and Petrica moved further down the rocks and closer to the water, Liviu added.

It was then the inquest heard how Laurentiu ended up in the water and drowned.

After making several attempts to save himself, according to those at the inquest, Laurentiu later appeared to stop moving and was face down in the water.

He was rescued by the coastguard helicopter and taken to Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, but died four days later.

DC Nick Jessop, from Devon and Cornwall Police, told the inquest: "From the evidence it would appear the three colleagues or friends went fishing in an area that they've previously done so on many occasions.

"And despite a near miss involving Petrica some weeks before they felt safe in doing so.

"They're amateur fishermen and perhaps naively have decided not to invest in life saving equipment such as life jackets or flotation trousers should they have fallen into or have been washed into the ocean.

"The weather conditions on the day have been described as being worse than normal but not dangerous."

DC Jessop added Laurentiu was in the water for around 20 minutes and most likely exhausted himself by trying to stay afloat, which led to him drowning.

Coroner Andrew Cox said the medical cause of death was aspiration pneumonia and hypoxic brain injury due to saltwater drowning.