A British tourist was killed as his wife watched on in horror when he was swept out to sea while on holiday.
Shopkeeper Andy Critchett, 49, was splashing in the surf on a beach in Sri Lanka when he was pulled under the water and dragged out to sea.
An inquest into the death heard Mr Critchett’s wife Lesley was taking photos from the beach when he got swept off his feet by a strong wave and struggled against a rip tide.
"I think I'm in a spot of bother," Mr Critchett, a strong swimmer and experienced diver from North Wales, shouted.
Fellow tourist Zane Jenkins told police they were aware of how strong the waves were and were jumping up and down.
"I felt he didn't want to admit he was struggling. The waves had dramatically got worse and the staff and locals were struggling,” Mr Jenkins said.
"I was so close to getting to him."
Mr Critchett's body was found 15 metres away and died despite efforts to revive him.
The inquest heard his family criticised staff at the Centara Ceysands Resort and Spa on the Bentota Peninsula for failing to warn guests of the dangers.
Members of his family said they were concerned there were no lifeguards on duty, no safety equipment and the hotel did not have a defibrillator.
North Wales coroner John Gittins said his jurisdiction did not extend to making any recommendations.
Mr Critchett’s heartbroken wife said it was horrific.
"The current was too strong. I was held back. They wouldn’t let me get to Andy. It was about 30 minutes before they could get him to shore,” she said before the hearing.
"People on the beach tried to revive him but there was no life-saving equipment, there wasn't anything. It was terrible."
Lesley said the couple had been married for 23 years and together for 26 and were planning a holiday to New York to celebrate Mr Critchett’s 50th birthday in the new year.
The couple had been on the island for just over a week when the tragedy happened.
"We had so much planned and in Sri Lanka we were having a wonderful time. He was taken from me in the most horrific circumstances imaginable,” the wife said.
"He was my best friend, my life and my world. I will never get over it."
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