Camping holiday tragedy as man tries to save brother from drowning - but had to let him go

Roshina Jowaheer

Sam Capper. PA

A father-to-be who dived into the sea to save his younger brother on a camping holiday was forced to let him go when he feared they would both drown.

An inquest heard how Lewis Hunt, 21, battled to hold onto Sam Capper for more than an hour-and-a-half after the 15-year-old was swept off rocks by a giant wave.

The Daily Mirror reports that the Royal Navy officer was forced to release the teenager from his grasp after realising that their mother would lose both her sons as he struggled to keep them both afloat.

The pair, from Birkenhead, were fishing with friends during a family camping holiday in Llangennith, Swansea, on 1 August.

DC Emma Hughes described Lewis's courage to the court

According to the Liverpool Daily Post, she said: 'Lewis said all he could see was Sam's feet. Sam could swim but not strongly. Lewis did not see him resurface and jumped in.

'Lewis swam towards his brother and kept them both afloat. He attempted to reassure Sam who he could see was clearly terrified.


'Lewis battled to keep them afloat for half an hour. Sam could not speak because he was swallowing water. He became fatigued keeping them afloat.

'Lewis believed at this point they were both going to drown and realised there was nothing he could do to save his brother, and if he wanted to save himself that he had to let his brother go.

'Lewis stated that his girlfriend Jennifer was 20 weeks pregnant at the time, and he imagined his own son growing up without a father, and also imagined his own mother losing two sons, and took the decision to let Sam go.'

Paramedics attended to the brothers after they were pulled from the water by lifeboat crews.

Sam was airlifted to hospital but was later declared dead.

Swansea coroner Philip Roger said Lewis had done his very best to save Sam and recorded a verdict of accidental death. The cause of death was drowning.

Charles Gabe, a retired police officer who witnessed the rescue attempt, said: 'I am sure they would have been devastated by the tragic outcome.

'However, had they not been so professional the tragedy would have been far worse.'

Sam's mum Leah, a British Transport Police officer, said her son was a 'unique, amazing, boy who touched the lives of so many people with his generosity, kindness and infectious laugh'.

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