Drowning death of Dylan Cecil a ‘tragic accident’

Dylan Cecil and dad Darren
Dylan Cecil and dad Darren

A Kettering youngster who fell into the sea and drowned while on a family holiday died in a tragic accident, an inquest heard.

Four-year-old Dylan Cecil was playing on a jetty in Burnham-on-Sea when he fell off the side and into the sea.

His parents, Darren Cecil and Rachel McCollum, immediately jumped into the sea to try and rescue their son, but had to then be rescued themselves after they were unable to find him.

Dylan’s inquest was held today, Thursday, February 28, at the Old Municipal Hall in Taunton, Somerset.

The inquest heard statements from Dylan’s parents, who were both present.

They said they had been in Burnham visiting Rachel’s parents and had decided to go along to the seaside with Dylan, his sisters Alice-Kelly and Faith and Rachel’s sister’s daughter at about 5pm on Sunday, August 19.

There, the couple’s children were playing on a jetty leading into the sea.

In her statement, Miss McCollum said Dylan was jumping in the jetty where the sea was lapping over the edge when she heard a ‘plop’ noise and realised Dylan had fallen in.

She added: “I looked round and realised he was not there.

“I shouted ‘He is in, he is gone’.”

Both Dylan’s parents leapt into the water, which was filled with mud and silt, but were unable to find Dylan.

In his statement, Mr Cecil said he was dragged away from the jetty by the tide and as he became more tired he feared he would drown.

Passers-by rescued Dylan’s parents from the water.

Coastguards, lifeboats and a helicopter were used in the ensuing search for Dylan, but they were unable to find him.

During the evening, the family were also joined by locals in a candle-lit vigil for the youngster, which about 200 people attended.

Dylan’s body was found washed up on a nearby beach four days later. The man who found his body said the youngster looked as if he were asleep.

Coastguard officer Tristan Newey, speaking at the inquest, said the water around the jetty where Dylan was playing would have been very turbulent and that even a grown adult would struggle to stay afloat for any length of time.

Coroner Michael Rose recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He added: “There was nothing the parents could have done to prevent this accident.

“Dylan wanted to go down to the sea, he was jumping about and I think he mistook his foothold.

“Neither he nor his parents realised how vicious the sea can be.”

Mr Rose offered the family his sympathy and said Dylan’s death had also touched the wider community of Burnham-on-Sea.