Investigation opens into death of Cambridge mayor who died after scuba diving in South Africa


The investigation into the death of a former Cambridge mayor who died after scuba diving in South Africa opened today (April 22).

Nigel Gawthrope, 61, was on vacation with his wife Jenny in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa when he died on January 11, 2019. He had been eight months in his role as Mayor of Cambridge when he was deceased.

Senior Coroner David Heming confirmed today that Cllr Gawthrope was scuba diving when he died, but he did not give a cause of death at the opening.

Nigel Gawthrope was an experienced diver and underwater photographer.

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On the day of his death, the National Institute for Sea Rescue of South Africa released a statement saying a man had suffered cardiac arrest without mentioning Cllr Gawthrope’s name.

He said: “At 12:30 p.m., NSRI 39 Rocky Bay station was activated to respond to Umkomaas where a rental dive boat sounded the alarm and was [sic] heading towards shore from a dive reporting CPR efforts on a 61-year-old Briton who surfaced after a dive before suffering cardiac arrest on the boat.

NSRI Station 39 Rocky Bay, Netcare 911 Ambulance Services, eThekwini Surf Lifesaving Rescuers, and Search and Rescue Police responded and made an appointment with the dive boat upon arrival ashore and despite efforts. CPR intensives deployed by paramedics, the man was unfortunately pronounced dead. “

The news of Cllr Gawthrope’s death saddened the community, with many paying tribute to the mayor in January 2019.

Cambridge City Council Chief Cllr Lewis Herbert said: ‘The loss of Nigel is a huge shock and hurts all of us in City Council, especially his closest colleagues, and it is nothing compared to the devastation. that his close and loving family feels. now.

“I spoke today to Jenny, his wife and our mayor, and I conveyed our condolences and our deepest condolences to them, and we are very happy that Nigel’s brother is flying on Monday to support her when she is. needs the most. “

Cllr Gawthrope had served as a city councilor for seven years after being first elected in 2012 to represent the King’s Hedges neighborhood and was re-elected in 2016.

In May 2018, he was unanimously elected Mayor of Cambridge until May 2019.

A pre-inquiry review hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 25.

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