A woman drowned in the sea after saving her grandson from drowning, an inquest has heard.

Safety measures on Dymchurch beach have been called into question after Denise Scarborough struggled trying to save her family.

Denise and her family strolled along the promenade on Dymchurch beach

The heroic grandmother, 60, was walking along the promenade with her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren on Thursday August 28, when her granddaughter slipped on steps leading into the sea and fell , instantly struggling in the water.

Immediately, the girl’s mother and older brother rushed after her – but both quickly got into trouble themselves.

Seeing the three of them in distress, Mrs Scarborough jumped after them, managing to reach her grandson to incapacitate him and allow him to safety.

However, while the other two members of her family also managed to get out safely, the retired security guard struggled herself.

An inquest into her death heard she was in the water for around 10 more minutes before a passerby managed to retrieve her.

The nearest lifeline was a mile from where Ms Scarborough entered the water.  Photo: Valerie Barlow
The nearest lifeline was a mile from where Ms Scarborough entered the water. Photo: Valerie Barlow

The bystander in question, who asked to remain anonymous, told KentOnline he arrived at the scene to see the family and other eyewitnesses “shaking frantically”, and a shape in the water.

Realizing what had happened, he dove into the water and managed to pick up the 60-year-old Erith resident and bring her back to the beach.

Finding her unresponsive, he then began CPR while emergency services were on their way to the scene.

“I managed to take him to the beach, there was another man there who I think witnessed the incident but said he couldn’t intervene as he had children with him and also feared being swept away,” he said.

“I was scared but I knew I couldn’t let her float without trying to save her. I can’t help but think that if I had been 15 minutes earlier I could have made a difference .”

Four of the six buoys are at the “tourist” end of the boardwalk.  Photo: Barry Goodwin
Four of the six buoys are at the “tourist” end of the boardwalk. Photo: Barry Goodwin

Emergency services including the police, coast guard and ambulance services were called but paramedics were unable to revive Ms Scarborough, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The inquest, held at Walsall County Court near Birmingham, heard questions had been raised about safety measures on the promenade following the tragic incident.

Alastair Clifford, a representative from Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC), revealed that while there were six lifebuoys on the promenade, four of them were in the “more touristy” area.

When Ms Scarborough and her family entered the water, the closest of them was a mile away, he revealed.

Deputy Coroner Kate Thomas said several safety issues were reported, including the lack of a ring at a ‘clearly unsafe’ point on the beach, but also a lack of signage advising people of the location of the beach. nearest safety equipment. .

“The fact that all four family members went into the water and had difficulty indicates that the water there is dangerous,” she explained.

“We’ve heard that lifeline placement is risk-based, but those steps themselves sound appealing.

“Despite this, for a considerable part of the walk there does not appear to be any lifesaving equipment at all.

“Also, there’s no point in having rescue equipment if someone doesn’t know where it is and then can’t find it.”

Mr Clifford responded by saying a lifeline had now been placed near where the incident happened and the council was currently carrying out a review of its sign locations, with new signs planned before the summer season.

Ms Thomas has asked the council for more evidence on safety measures before considering making a recommendation to prevent future loss of life.

Recording a misadventure conclusion, she said: “I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to the family. These are the most tragic of circumstances.”