A MAN who drowned while snorkelling in the Caribbean had an underlying heart problem that could have caused his death, an inquest heard.
Mark Crick, 47, of Primrose Way, Stamford, was on an environmental field trip in the Turks and Caicos Islands when his body was found floating in the sea to the north of the town of Providenciales on March 26 this year.
Mr Crick, who was in the islands doing work for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, was due to fly back to the UK on the day he died.
He had telephoned his wife Helga that morning to say he was going for one final swim before his plane departed.
At an inquest in Stamford on Tuesday, coroner’s officer Colin Allerston said initial post-mortem reports done in the Turks and Caicos Islands and in the UK concluded Mr Crick died of saltwater drowning.
But a second report from the Caribbean found he had a condition called athrosclerosis, where plaque builds up inside the arteries. One of the arteries in Mr Crick’s heart was found to be 65 per cent blocked.
The report said the blockage reduced space for blood to pass, and could have caused a haemorrhage which led to Mr Crick’s death.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Gordon Ryall told Mrs Crick: “I think the cause of death is clear. Your husband drowned.
“We know he was going swimming. We don’t know why he drowned.”
But Mr Ryall said the death could be attributed to Mr Crick’s heart condition.
He added: “Someone with that problem can be subject to unexpected cardiac events.
“It may be when he was swimming that was what happened.
“It is sad that this should happen. If he had been aware of his condition then he might have gone to the doctor and had treatment for it.
“It is not unusual for someone to die with this condition without knowing they had it at all.”