Storm claimed dad on debut holiday dip

Michael Knight
Michael Knight

A father-of-seven was determined to take a dip in the sea during his first holiday abroad, an inquest heard.

But Michael Knight, 49, from Tyldesley could not have predicted he would be engulfed in an intense storm after he ventured into the water at Magaluf, Bolton Coroner’s Court was told.

I’ve been going there for a few years and it was the worst storm I had ever seen

Mark Hartley

Lifeguards reached the former security guard after they spotted him lying face up in the water as torrential rain subsided, according to a report by examining magistrate Emmanuel Guerrero in Mallorca.

But Mr Guerrero said Mr Knight, of Somerset Avenue, appeared to suffer a heart attack while he was in the water, the court heard.

Mr Knight was fitted with a tracheostomy to assist with his breathing and his condition was stabilised.

The family was informed that he had severely limited brain functions after the incident and the medical authorities at Inka Hospital, where he was being treated, rang his daughter Emily to tell him he had died on October 15.

He had been on holiday with friends Mark and Carmen Hartley, jetting out from Manchester to stop at the Hotel Don Bigote on September 21 last year.

The couple and Mr Knight, who was having an early celebration for his 50th birthday, had been out to bars on their first two days, the court heard.

But when the Hartleys saw Mr Knight on the third day he was drinking orange juice as he had had a heavy night previously.

Mr Hartley said: “He told me that he was a strong swimmer but I took that with a pinch of salt.

“He pointed to the sea and said ‘I’m going in there’. I thought he would have gone into the water at Palma Nova as the sea is quieter there.’

The court heard the Hartleys and Mr Knight became separated before the storm, which is said to have caused flash flooding on the mainland.

Mr Hartley added: “I’ve been going there for a few years and it was the worst storm I had ever seen.

“Within a few minutes the front of our hotel was under water but then it just stopped and the sun came out.”

Daughter Emily and partner Layla Ward confirmed that they had spoken to Mr Knight shortly before he was last seen and he appeared to be enjoying the holiday immensely.

Miss Ward also said that she had never seen her partner, who she had lived with for 10 years, swimming before.

The inquest was told that Emily Knight flew out to Mallorca twice to check on his progress.

Dr Stephen McGrath, a pathologist from Salford Royal Hospital who conducted a post mortem examination in the UK later, said Mr Knight appeared to have developed broncho-pneumonia due to haemorrhaging in his large bowel.

The doctor said this was directly connected to the serious brain injury he had suffered after being immersed in the water.

Recording a conclusion of misadventure, Coroner Alan Walsh said: “It is a tragedy of enormous proportions that he should lose his life in these circumstances.”

The coroner said he had only been provided with limited documentation from the Mallorcan authorities in relation to the death but he was satisfied he had enough evidence to bring the hearing to a conclusion.

He told the hearing that he was also content that there were proper protocols in place in Magaluf to deal with beach emergencies and the lifeguards could be credited with saving Mr Knight’s life at the time.

An online appeal was launched by Mr Knight’s family to repatriate his body after they discovered his holiday insurance did not cover him.