A man drowned after getting into difficulty in the water during a seaside trip, an inquest found.

Tomas Yohannes, who lived in Salford, lost his life while spending a day at the beach in Fleetwood on July 17.

The 29-year-old was swimming in the sea with colleague Teame Kidane when the pair began to struggle.

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As they attempted to swim back to the shore, Teame was rescued by another friend.

But when he turned around, Tomas, who couldn’t swim, was nowhere to be seen.

A major search involving lifeboats and a helicopter was subsequently launched.

It lasted for five hours until Tomas’s lifeless body was found face down in the water.

An inquest into his death was held at Preston Coroner's Court on Wednesday (October 27).

During the hearing, the court heard a statement from Mr Kidane, Lancs Live reports.

Tomas Yohannes

"They parked about a two minute walk from the shore and made their way to the beach where some started making some food," Assistant Coroner Sara Sutherland said, reading from Teame's statement.

"The others went out swimming. Two were very good swimmers and they went very far out into the sea. Teame and Tomas went into the water up to their chests.

"Teame said 'I can swim a little better than Tomas so I swam out towards the other two boys but I stopped when the water was up to my neck'.

"They were about 100 metres from the shore and Teame was about 10 metres away from Tomas and said he looked fine."

In his statement Teame, who had known Tomas for around five months, said he then started to get tired and "couldn't put my feet on the floor".

"I shouted for help because I was drinking water; at first I think they thought I was joking. Tomas went towards the shore to get help," Teame said.

"I heard him shout 'can you help me I'm struggling myself' but I was drinking water, I wasn't able to look back as I was trying to get to the shore.

"My friend came to help me; he was able to help me back to the shore. I looked towards Tomas and I couldn't see him. Someone called the police."

Another colleage, Fars Brhane, was on the beach at the time and said he heard Tomas and Teame shouting "help me".

"I went out and I took hold of Teame, I couldn't stand up, I told him not to panic and drag me down," Fars said in a statement.

Tomas Yohannes

"It was scary and I was tired. Teame started saying 'Tomas, Tomas' but I couldn't see Tomas at all."

After a member of the public called 999 at 2.41pm the Coastguard tasked lifeboat crews from Blackpool RNLI as well as requesting help from the UK Aeronautical Rescue Centre. Fleetwood's RNLI inshore lifeboat also raced to the scene.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, the coroner said: "This is a tragic case where a young man has lost his life.

"Tomas attended the beach with work friends and very sadly Tomas got into difficulty and disappeared below the water line. Andrew Carroll from the Coastguard confirmed the extensive search carried out by multiple agencies in an attempt to recover Tomas.

"When the body was recovered he had already died having been submerged in water for some time."

After Tomas's death, his brother, Weldu, paid tribute to him and described Tomas as "happy" and "hard-working".

"He had a lot of horrible things that happened to him in his life but he was happy here," Weldu said.

"He was going to college to get better at English. He was really hard working. In his free time he loved to play table tennis and football and we all used to enjoy hanging out here together. He used to work six days a week so he wanted to spend his one day off at the beach.

"He was a funny guy. He was very sociable and everyone really respected him. Tomas was a really honest person and very family orientated."

A GoFundMe page was set up in the aftermath to raise the money to cover the costs of flying Tomas's body back to Africa, where he was originally from. The fundraiser generated more than £7,400.

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