Man, 22, drowns at Norfolk beauty spot after airbed is blown away

Man, 22, drowns at Norfolk beauty spot after his airbed is blown across a lake by the wind

  • Kristers Bednarskis, 22 from Peterbrough, died by drowning an inquest heard
  • The tragedy happened at beauty spot Bawsey Country Park, Norfolk last August
  • Owner of the park says he has improved signing since two drownings in 2013  

A man drowned at a beauty spot after the airbed he was sunbathing on was blown across a lake by wind, an inquest heard.

Kristers Bednarskis, 22, died at Bawsey Country Park, near King’s Lynn in Norfolk last August after getting into difficulty in waters.

The warehouse operative from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, had travelled to the park with his girlfriend Gabriele Dulksnyte.

The couple had been sunbathing on an inflatable mattress in shallow water at the edge of a flooded quarry, when they were carried away from the bank by the wind.

Kristers Bednarskis, 22 from Peterborough was sunbathing on a lake when his airbed was blown away

The warehouse operative got into difficulty in waters after his girlfriend swam ashore to get food

Miss Dulksnyte said in a statement she had swum ashore to get something to eat. 

As soon as she had arrived, she looked back and saw Mr Bednarskis had slipped off the mattress and was in difficulty in the water.

She called for help and a group of men swam out to try to help Mr Bednarskis but by the time they reached him he had already slipped beneath the surface.

Mr Bednarskis’s body was later recovered by police and firefighters using a boat. A pathologist concluded he died from drowning and said he had found no traces of alcohol or drugs in his system.

A group of men swam out in a bid to save Mr Bednarskis but his body had already slipped under waters

In a statement read out at the hearing Stephen Bacon – who bought the former Bawsey Pits in 2016 – said he had improved signage around the lakes and employed a warden. 

A 16-year-old boy from east London drowned at the pits in July 2013. A man local to the park, Ryan Pettegell, 41, also drowned on the same day after he he swam out to look for the missing boy. 

West Norfolk council health and safety officers carried out an investigation after Mr Bednarskis’s death. 

Community safety manager Andy Nederpel said there was clear evidence Mr Bacon had carried out improvements to the site and was doing ‘all he reasonably can’.

Emergency services attended the scene in August last year before recovering Bednarskis’ body

He added: ‘The only way to avoid another drowning at Bawsey Country Park is for the public to follow the rules.’

The coroner concluded Mr Bednarskis’s death was misadventure. She added: ‘People do have to take responsibility for their own safety. 

‘If there are warning signs, they are there for a reason and should not be flouted by the public.’ 

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