A FORMER firefighter who was found unconscious in the sea at Branksome Chine Beach had been drinking heavily, an inquest has heard.

Tadeusz Trzpis, of Hayes, Middlesex, died at Royal Bournemouth Hospital on July 7, last year.

Mr Trzpis, who had been a firefighter in his native Poland, was visiting Poole with his nephew and friends on July 6 when tragedy struck.

Coroner Brendan Allen presided over an inquest into the death of the 46-year-old at Dorset Coroner’s Court, Bournemouth Town Hall, on Wednesday, April 1.

During the hearing, Mr Allen read from a statement from Mr Trzpis’ nephew, Mateusz Trzpis.

Mateusz recalled how his uncle, who had an inflatable ring with him, was swimming along the shoreline after eating and drinking alcohol during the day trip. While returning from a swim himself, Mateusz said he became concerned when hearing people call his uncle’s name.

“I started to shake, I was panicking and I ran to the shore, my friends started to shout my uncle Tadeusz was missing,” he said.

Shortly afterwards his uncle was found near the shore, unconscious in the water. Mateusz said: “I started crying because my uncle wasn’t breathing.”

Despite CPR at the scene by RNLI lifeguards and paramedics, and emergency treatment at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Tadeusz Trzpis passed away in the early hours the following day.

His nephew, who was able to hold his uncle’s hand in his last few hours at the hospital, said: “I was emotionally broken.”

The cause of death was confirmed as extended hypoxia of the brain due to immersion in seawater and aspiration.

After a post mortem the pathologist noted: “The heavy drunkenness confirmed by the high blood ethanol concentration likely contributed to significant disorientation when falling into water.”

Tadeusz’s blood alcohol reading was 214 milligrams per 100 millilitres, almost three times the legal drink drive limit. Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Mr Allen said: “This is an incident that does expose the dangers associated with going into the sea whilst intoxicated through drink, regardless of whether the individual is a strong swimmer or not. That had tragic consequences for Mr Trzpis.”