An EXPERIENCED diver died while on holiday in Mexico after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest while underwater, an inquest heard.
Salesman Jeremy Bain, 47, dived to a depth of 55ft but came up coughing and spluttering and was too weak to remove his vest and flippers without help.
By the time he was taken ashore he was pronounced dead by paramedics.
Mr Bain, who had dived all over the world, had gone to Tulum in Mexico in August last year with his partner, Zena Abu-Zeini, and her daughter, where he booked onto a course to get a rescue diving certificate.
He was among a group of six tourists taken out to a reef by a local scuba diving company.
But Mr Bain, of Moorgate, Rotherham, was the first to surface after 38 minutes and was clearly in distress.
Boat captain Juan Quijada said in a statement that the diver told him he did not feel well, adding that he was “very pale and had no strength”.
The boat alerted the emergency services onshore as Mr Bain was laid on rugs, unable to speak.
He was rushed to the beach and given artificial respiration by paramedics, but it was unsuccessful.
Mexican pathologist Dr Salvador Hernandez gave the cause of death as gas bubbles in his airstream, due to lung pressure damage from breath-holding.
But Rotherham coroner Ms Nicola Mundy asked for a second autopsy in the UK and pathologist Dr Kim Suvarna said it was more likely to have been undiagnosed heart disease.
His examination revealed evidence of a previous heart attack and significant narrowing of the arteries.
“Sudden death could have occurred at any time,” Dr Suvarna told the inquest. He added that the combination of a stressful sales job, high blood pressure and undiagnosed heart disease were classic factors which led to acute cardiac failure.
Miss Abu-Zeini said her partner was in good health and he had been diving for 10 years.
Ms Mundy said the diver had been at risk of heart disease, although he did not know he had the condition.
She felt the conclusions reached by the autopsy in Mexico were inaccurate and she preferred Dr Suvarna’s findings.
Giving a verdict of natural causes, she said: “It is my view that he passed away as a result of his underlying heart condition.”