Brave 22-year-old described as a ‘true hero’ tragically drowned in the sea while trying to save friend even without knowing how to swim.
Drowns in the sea while bravely trying to save a friend
Alex Gibson, 22, was found face down in the water about 200m from the Blackpool Tower headland shortly after 5am on July 30, 2021.
He had gone into the sea near the North Pier at about 4:10 a.m.
that day after an alarming phone call with a friend, who told him she wanted to end her own life.
Minutes later, a homeless man sleeping nearby was awakened by the sound of a woman shouting “Alex, I can’t live without you!”.
He ran to the edge of the Promenade, where he saw Mr. Gibson struggling in the water before disappearing under the pier.
Mr Wright, giving evidence, said he saw Alex struggling to keep his head above water, but then lost sight of him because it was too dark.
Lifeboat coxswain Sean Wright, a Blackpool RNLI volunteer, took part in the search for Alex. The crew found his body about 200 yards from shore.
He was taken to hospital but could not be saved. The cause of death was drowning, and alcohol intoxication was a contributory factor.
Dillon Dixon, a friend of Alex’s, said he considered him like a brother. Alex was proud to be a vegan and had a “heart of gold,” he added.
The hearing was told that Alex had self-harmed in the weeks before his death, but there was no evidence that he had deliberately taken his own life.
Senior coroner Alan Wilson concluded that Alex’s death was the result of misadventure, the unintended consequences of a deliberate act.
Wilson said Alex had disregarded his own safety to bravely enter the water to save a vulnerable young girl.
Alex’s father told the inquest that he planned to place a memorial to his son near the site where he had drowned.
After Alex’s death, his employer, C Fresh, posted an online tribute, calling Alex an “amazing man” who was intelligent, hardworking, caring and a “true hero.”