A UNIVERSITY lecturer described as a strong swimmer drowned on his birthday when saving his six-year-old son Sam from an ebbing tide on a holiday beach.

An inquest was told this yesterday (Thursday) when a conclusion of accidental death was recorded on 45-year-old Dr James Lincoln, an economics lecturer at Manchester University.

Despite efforts to resuscitate him on the beach Dr Lincoln, of South Trafford, Manchester, was found to be dead on arrival in hospital at Bangor.

The tragedy happened on a sunny day last August when a family party had been at Borth y gest near Porthmadog in Gwynedd.

In evidence at a Caernarfon inquest Mrs Rosemary Segger, mother of the lecturer, said the tide had been going out and she heard calls for help.

She added :”Six months later I can’t understand it because he was a strong swimmer, a fit healthy man”.

Asked whether Sam had said what happened she replied :”All he said was ‘I was in the sand’. He didn’t say another word.”

Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones was told how Sam had been brought to safety by a man who swam out to him. When Dr Lincoln was pulled out of the water he showed no signs of life.

Mr Pritchard Jones said the cause of death was drowning. “It would appear that Sam got into difficulties and his father went to his rescue.

“James was able to swim, he should have survived this. Unfortunately in rescuing Sam he drowned. What exactly happened we don’t really know because there aren’t any other witnesses.”

The coroner added : “It was only when Sam was brought to the shore it was realised he was holding on to his father”.

Mr Pritchard Jones said it highlighted the danger of ebbing tides in estuaries around the coast, with the force of the tide when it turned.

It was a characteristic which had resulted in deaths each year.

In a tribute Manchester University called Dr Lincoln a passionate and inspiring lecturer - “an incredible loss to the economics department.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said at the time :”HM Coastguard received multiple 999 calls reporting a person in the water near Porthmadog.

“The coastguard rescue team and the RNLI inshore lifeboat from Criccieth were sent, along with the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon, North Wales Police and ambulance service.

“The man was recovered from the water by members of the public before being transferred by helicopter to Ysbyty Gwynedd.”