Scuba instructor says she took eyes off backpacker for 'seconds' before death

A coronial inquest has begun into the drowning death of a young British woman holidaying in the Whitsundays three years ago.

Bethany Farrell was minutes into her first scuba dive when her instructor lost sight of her.

The 23-year-old tourist was on her dream holiday in early 2015 when the adventure took the tragic turn.

Dive instructor Fiona McTavish told the inquest she took her eyes of Ms Farrell for about 10 seconds and when she looked back she was missing.

Bethany Farrell drowned on her first scuba dive in the Whitsundays. Source: Instagram

The inquest heard the Wings Diving Adventures instructor had strayed from her normal route at Blue Pearl Bay and didn’t keep her within arms reach – an industry requirement for inexperienced divers.

Ms McTavish also admitted Ms Farrell had difficulty operating her buoyancy device during the dive demonstration.

The tourist’s body was found on the sea floor an hour after she went missing.

Bethany Farrell died while holidaying at the Whitsundays in 2015. Source: 7 News

Ms Farrell’s parents Patrick and Caron Farrell flew from England for the inquest.

In a statement they told 7 News their daughter was a kind, loving, generous 23-year-old who loved life.

They said “no stone would be left unturned” in their fight for truth and justice.

The inquest is scheduled to run over three days and the coroner hopes to establish the cause of Bethany’s death and prevent a similar tragedy occurring again.