Dad and daughter died on holiday in Cornwall after wave swept them off harbour wall

Matthew and Bonnie Smith, from Gloucester, died after being swept out to sea on a break in Cornwall in November. Credit: BPM Media

A father and daughter from Gloucester drowned after being swept out to sea while on holiday in Cornwall.

Matthew Smith and his daughter Bonnie were knocked off the harbour wall at Mullion Cove by a huge wave in November last year.

The pair were enjoying a short break in the county having driven down from their family home in Gloucester with Bonnie’s siblings Mitchell and Oliver.

An inquest at Cornwall Coroner’s Court on April 26 heard the “devastating tragedy” could not be avoided, while sea conditions at the time were described as “savage”.

A Coastguard helicopter was involved in the rescue of Matthew and Bonnie after they swept into the sea. Credit: Bina Fellowes Photography

Coroner Andrew Cox explained: “Matthew and Bonnie walked out along one of the harbour walls, and what happened subsequently is that a substantial wave has come up and over the wall and simply swept them into the water.

"And once they were in the water, I think the prospect of any recovery being effective was remote."

Detective Constable Kelly Browning, of Gloucestershire Police, told the inquest she did not think Matthew or Bonnie realised the “power of the waves”.

"It's a simple case of naivety and not ignorance,” she said.

A large-scale rescue mission was launched by the emergency services after the pair were swept into the sea, including the Coastguard and RNLI.

A Coastguard helicopter was also scrambled, and the crew on board managed to winch Matthew and Bonnie out of the water.

Mullion Cove, where the pair were swept out to sea.

Despite their efforts, however, Matthew was pronounced dead at the scene while Bonnie later died in hospital.

The coroner recorded their deaths as an accident, describing it as “a simple tragedy”.

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