Woman, 26, drowned in sea after she was swept off rocks

Woman, 26, drowned after she was swept off rocks by waves as she took photos of a lighthouse with her boyfriend, inquest hears

  • Dora Mango, 26, found floating face-down in the sea in Eastbourne, East Sussex 
  • Young pharmacist drowned after being swept off a rock by the incoming tide 
  • Ms Mango and boyfriend Jerry were taking photos of the Belle Tout lighthouse 
  • Inquest heard Jerry attempted to dive in and save her but could not get to her 

A young woman drowned in the sea after being swept away by waves as she and her boyfriend took photos of a famous lighthouse near Beachy Head in Eastbourne, an inquest has heard.

Pharmacist Dora Mango, 26, was found floating face-down in the sea off the beach in the East Sussex town.

Ms Mango and her boyfriend Jerry had travelled down to the coast on a sightseeing trip from their home in Redhill, Surrey.

But she was swept off a rock and despite Jerry’s efforts to dive in and save her, the 26-year-old drowned.

The Hungarian-born woman had walked along the bottom of the cliff at Beachy Head to take photographs of the nearby Belle Tout lighthouse. 

After walking for a while, the couple had noticed the tide rapidly coming in and soon realised they were trapped. 

The couple were soon stranded on a small portion of the beach, and knew at this point they had to call for help but could not get any signal.

In a statement, Jerry revealed that Ms Mango clambered onto a rock while he urgently swam to get help but it would be the last time his girlfriend was seen.

Pharmacist Dora Mango (pictured), 26, was found floating face-down in the sea off the beach in the Eastbourne, East Sussex

‘On October 24 we both used a metal flight of stairs, both took photos and decided to walk towards the lighthouse. About 500 metres from the lighthouse we stood to take photographs. This is when the tide was quickly approaching,’ his statement said.

‘We said we needed to get back and started walking back but were cut off by the tide. At just after noon both of us were on a small portion of the beach. We tried calling for help but there was no phone signal and both of us screamed for help.

‘Dora positioned herself on a rock and I swam about 50 metres around top get to the beach. I found a couple on the beach and an elderly man called the emergency services. This was when the tide had come in some way.’ 

Despite receiving CPR and being flown to King’s College Hospital in London in a helicopter, Ms Mango (pictured) died at 4pm on October 24

A rescue team as well as two helicopters and multiple lifeboats were launched, according to Martime Coastguard Agency’s statements. 

After eventually finding her Ms Mango, she was taken to shore and given CPR whilst being flown to King’s College Hospital in London. 

But doctors pronounced the pharmacist dead at 4pm, after she had arrived at the hospital with no pulse half an hour earlier. The total incident lasted an hour and 40 minutes. 

Stewart Walker, who called 999 on behalf of Jerry, told the inquest: ‘Jerry came up to us and we could see he was wet through. I don’t think he had shoes on, he was distressed. He told us that his girlfriend was stranded around the corner and she was still there.

‘I went back as far as I could to get a signal. I called 999 about four times because the signal kept breaking up. We tried to see if we could use our belts to get around the rock, Jerry was shouting out with pain, it’s incredibly painful to run on the pebbles there.’

Mr Walker said the pair then saw two rucksacks floating in the water which prompted Jerry to immediately jump in, but he was forced to come back out due to the rough conditions.

After the coastguards arrived, Mr Walker recalled being concerned for Jerry’s well-being. ‘Jerry looked gone, he was flat, I was concerned for him,’ he said. 

‘He looked broken, lost and abandoned.’ 

The Hungarian-born woman had walked along the bottom of the cliff at Beachy Head to take photographs of the nearby Belle Tout lighthouse. (File image of Belle Tout)

Coroner’s officer David Tye carried out an investigation at Birling Gap to see if there were any tide warning signs where the couple had made their way down to the beach.

He told the hearing: ‘There was signage that said “No exit at high tide” and “No safe access beyond this point”. There were walking times given and a tide timetable. There were significant indications to warn walkers.’

But Mr Walker, who visits that area of the beach several times a week, interrupted the inquest to say: ‘Those signs are new. They used to just have a chalkboard with timings written.’

Coroner Ms Bradford concluded: ‘The post-mortem examination on Ms Mango’s body concluded the cause of death was immersion in seawater and probable drowning.

‘They intended to go down to the beach but the action went wrong and Dora sadly passed away. The short form conclusion for Dora Mango’s death is one of misadventure.’

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