New Forest pensioner who drowned off Hurst Spit is named

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Police at Hurst Spit the morning after the search

A MAN who drowned after a major search at Hurst Spit has been named as 87-year-old Sway resident Michael Rickman.

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The opening of an inquest was told that on the evening of 4th November a fisherman “heard groaning in the water” and spotted what looked like a man, so alerted the coastguard.

Coroner Jason Pegg said a search was launched, helped by police and Royal Marines who had been training in the area, but had to be called off at midnight. The body of Mr Rickman, a former heating engineer who lived in Pauls Lane, was recovered the following day, reportedly at Yarmouth, on the Isle of Wight.

Investigating police found Mr Rickman’s car, which was unlocked and had the keys in the centre console, at the spit.

Mr Pegg added: “[Police were told] Mr Rickman left his address the previous evening and had been vague about where he was going.”

A post-mortem examination determined his death was caused by shock and water immersion, as well as hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A full inquest is due to take place in July 2021.

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