Stuart Calder, 52, got caught in a powerful rip current and was dragged out to sea as he attempted to save his sons Hugo and Milo who were trying to help two teenage brothers in difficulty among the strong waves.
Mr Calder, who worked at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, drowned alongside Rachel Dunn, 42, and her partner Kevin Reynolds, 44, in last October’s tragedy at Mawgan Porth beach in Newquay, Cornwall.
The orthopaedic surgeon had gone into the sea to help his sons who were trying to assist teenage brothers Gethin and William Robson who had got into difficulty while swimming.
In total there were seven people involved in the rescue - victims Mr Calder, Mr Reynolds and Ms Dunn - as well as Mr Calder’s sons and the Robson brothers.
Cornwall Coroner’s Court heard that members of the public who were on the beach - many on holiday as it was the school half-term - risked their lives to go into the water to help those in trouble.
But some experienced surfers told the hearing that the sea current was too strong that day and the water should have been closed off.
Lifeguards were not patrolling the beach when the incident took place in October, as they only do so between March and September.