Man drowned after trying to save his dog

Andrew McGeown.
Andrew McGeown.
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The best friend of a man who drowned as he tried to save his dog has told how he desperately battled to try to save him as massive 6ft waves crashed into Scarborough from a stormy sea.

Timothy Connor told an inquest how he repeatedly tried to pull his friend, Andrew McGeown to safety, after he had plunged into the sea at the resort’s Spa to try to save his Staffordshire bull terrier which had been washed out by giant waves.

Mr Connor said the two men regularly went to the South Bay and Spa area for walks. Mr McGeown, of Hackness Road, Scarborough, usually kept his dog on the lead, but had let it loose because he often threw a ball for it if there were no other dogs around.

“We knew the sea was rough,” said Mr Connor. “I saw a big wave come over and it sucked the dog into the sea. As soon as it happened, Andrew jumped over the seawall into the sea to save it.”

But the drop had been more severe than he envisaged because instead of being waist high on to the beach, the sea was more than 6ft due to the high seas washing away the sand.

Mr Connor said he repeatedly managed to grab his friend but each time the waves beat him as he tried to pull him to safety.

“I grabbed his hand but another massive wave came and washed him back out. I started screaming but it was dark and there was no-one around.

“I was trying to use the waves to get hold of him and pull him in. It all happened in about four minutes but it seemed much longer.”

Mr Connor said he managed to grab his friend’s dog which was saved.

Today an inquest in Scarborough heard Mr McGeown died as a result of drowning in February this year. North Yorkshire East Coroner, Michael Oakley, told Mr Connor, of New Parks Crescent, Scarborough, that he had made “a great valiant effort” to save Mr McGeown, a 32-year-old self-employed roofer.

Mr Connor, agreed with the coroner at the inquest hearing that in hindsight, it had been “fool hardy and risky” to have gone to the Spa when it was known there was a heavy sea.

Mr Oakley said Mr McGeown had immediately gone over the sea wall when his dog was washed out to sea and had managed to push it to Mr Connor to save. But the combination of high winds and a heavy sea had prevented Mr Connor from saving his friend despite his “valiant attempts.” The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.