PARAMEDICS tried to resuscitate a firefighter and father-of-four for almost an hour after he was recovered from the water during a triathlon in Spain, an inquest heard.

Carl Andrew Cavanagh, 45, was competing in the Challenge Peguera Mallorca when he got into difficulties in the water at Playa Tora.

An inquest into the Wimborne man’s death opened at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court on Friday.

Senior coroner for Dorset Rachael Griffin heard that the fire crew commander took part in the national event on October 19 last year.

Coroner’s officer Ken McEwan told the hearing Mr Cavanagh was a "fit and healthy" man, who routinely entered triathlons, charity cycles and long-distance runs.

Mr Cavanagh entered the water at Playa Tora to complete the estimated 50-minute swim during the triathlon, the inquest heard.

“However, lifeguards, who were in attendance were alerted by another swimmer,” said Mr McEwan.

“Mr Cavanagh was recovered from the sea unresponsive. CPR was carried out by the paramedics for almost an hour before he was confirmed deceased.”

Mr McEwan said a death certificate was issued in Spain with a cause of death as cardiac failure after a post-mortem had taken place on the continent prior to repatriation.

However, Mrs Griffin said a subsequent post-mortem examination took place at Holly Tree Lodge mortuary in Bournemouth, with a report stating the provisional cause of death was unascertained.

She requested statements from Mr Cavanagh’s family and his GP, as well as reports from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to assist in the circumstances of his death and results of the post-mortem in Spain.

Mrs Griffin adjourned the inquest at Bournemouth Town Hall until August 6.

A fundraising page was set up to support Mr Cavanagh’s family after his death. The total donated currently stands at more than £10,000.

As reported, he worked as a fireman at Heathrow Airport but had also worked at both Bournemouth and Southampton airports in the past.He had also been a retained firefighter in Hampshire.

He was brought up in Bournemouth and lived in Wimborne and is a former member of Wimborne Rugby Club.