A FATHER-OF-TWO drowned in the lake where he and his five brothers learned to swim as boys, an inquest heard.
Jason Owens, 43, a groundworker from Victoria Square, Holywell, was swimming in Flour Mill Pool in Greenfield Park on the afternoon of Sunday, June 8, when he got into difficulties.
Despite what coroner John Gittins described as the sterling efforts of Mr Owens’ cousin Anthony Daly, who was with him, Mr Owens drowned after becoming entangled in dense weeds.
At an inquest at County Hall in Ruthin, Lee Owens said his younger brother regularly swam in the pool and was a good swimmer.
“That was where we all learned to swim when we were kids,” he said. “We just used to walk down there – my uncle, my dad, everyone.”
He said his brother often swam in the pool.
“He’d take his dogs there for a walk,” he said. “He spent half his life down the valley. If it was a nice day, he’d stop off and have a swim and then walk back with his dogs.”
Mr Owens said on the day his brother died, Jason had finished work at 1pm and, after a pint with his brother and a shower, he had joined his cousin to go to the pool as it was such a beautiful weekend.
A police report told how Mr Daly said his cousin had been swimming to the other side of the pool when he got into difficulties about three quarters of the way across.
Despite being a non-swimmer himself, Mr Daly ran around the pool and went into the water but when he reached Mr Owens, he said his cousin was upright but “totally submerged and still” and with “no signs of life”.
Before having to abandon attempts to pull him out because he was getting into difficulty himself, Mr Daly said Jason had seemed to be “wedged tight”.
Lee Owens said he understood recent work oxygenating the pool ‘to help the fish’ meant plants in the water had “grown tenfold”.
“He was trying to get to the surface,” he said. “That’s why he was upright.”
Underwater police search teams had to halt attempts to find the body because of the weeds, Mr Gittins said.
But after “a large volume of weed” was taken to shore, Mr Owens body was recovered just after 9pm.
A post-mortem examination by pathologist Dr Mark Atkinson at Glan Clwyd Hospital found no evidence of injuries or disease.
Dismissing the alcohol found in his system as “not significant”, Mr Gittins ruled the death was an accidental drowning.
He said Mr Owens sadly became entangled in dense weeds and was unable to get across the pool, despite the best efforts of Mr Daly who Mr Gittins said “should be applauded”.
An inspection by the health and safety executive on June 21, he said, found safety measures at the pool were ‘entirely appropriate’.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Gary Owens said Jason would always be missed by his daughter and son and by family and friends.
He said Jason was “one of those people who’d talk to anyone and got on with everyone”.
“Maybe we can get on with our lives now,” he said. “But he’s still our brother and it’s still raw. It will always be raw.”