Brit windsurfer's body found washed up 600 miles away in Sweden after he drowned

Vanessa Bamfield, Mr Bamfield’s worried wife, reported him missing at 5:17 p.m. that same day when it had got dark and he had not returned home

An autopsy conducted in Sweden stated that Mr Bamfield’s main cause of death was drowning, but found that he also had circulatory problems (

Image: HM Coast Guard)

The body of a veteran British windsurfer who was reported missing after setting off on his board in 40 mph winds was found washed up 600 miles away in Sweden.

An investigation was heard on Monday into how Chris Bamfield, 65, was last seen on his board of directors on November 14th last year in Hunstanton, Norfolk.

Vanessa Bamfield, his worried wife, reported him missing at 5:17 p.m. that same day when it had got dark and he had not returned to her home in Middleton, near King’s Lynn.

The Norfolk coroner in Norwich heard an extensive search for Mr Biamfield involving six search and rescue teams, lifeboats and two fixed-wing aircraft.

On the morning of November 16, the search, which included the entire area of ​​The Wash, was abandoned when it was believed he was lost at sea.

His windsurfer board with the accompanying red and white sail was later salvaged in the North Sea around 21 miles off the coast of Norfolk.

Windsurfer and retired council chairman Chris Bamfield were unable to return home after a windsurfing session last November
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Image:

Norfolk Police)

It was not until April 6 of this year that his body was washed up on the beach at Stora Korno in Bohuslan, Sweden.

Two weeks later, on April 20th, Interpol informed Norfolk Police that a body that matched Mr Bamfield’s description had been found.

The investigation heard that DNA testing confirmed the remains were those of Mr Bamfield, who had recently retired as executive director of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council.

An autopsy in Sweden cited drowning as the main cause of death, but found that he also had circulatory problems.

Reports from Mr Bamfield’s GP confirmed that he had been diagnosed with high cholesterol but had turned down statin medication because he wanted to treat himself through diet and fitness.

Norfolk coroner Yvonne Blake reported an accidental death from drowning while windsurfing. She said that water found in Mr. Banfield’s lungs confirmed that he had drowned.

Ms. Blake said that while Mr. Banfeld has a slightly elevated cholesterol level, she doesn’t understand that it is in the “heart attack area”.

Emergency services find Mr Bamfield late last year
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Image:

HM Coast Guard)

She added, “He went out on something he enjoyed. He had been doing it for many years and had the right equipment.

“It seems to me that a pretty big search has been started and some time later he was found in Sweden and identified by his DNA profile.”

Speaking to Mr Bamfield’s widow and daughter who attended the hearing, Ms. Blake expressed her sadness that it had taken nearly five months to find his body.

She said, “I’m sorry for the loss and the insecurity. It makes things worse.”

Mr Bamfield’s daughter, Ashton, said her father went windsurfing at lunchtime which meant he still had plenty of daylight.

She said, “I don’t want anyone to think they are extremely reckless because they were not reckless at all.”

In a pre-investigation statement, Miss Bamfield described her father as a “devoted” husband and father who was “caring for and loving family and friends” and a proud civil servant for 29 years.

She added that he was looking forward to retirement and “recently rekindled” his love for windsurfing. He also plans to travel the world with his wife and spend time with his family, she said.

“He was passionate about sport. Golf and windsurfing were high on the list. He played golf most days and had played golf courses across the country, as well as Europe and America, ”she said.

Miss Bamfield also noted that her father was struggling with back pain and fatigue in the weeks leading up to his death, but he shrugged off family worries for his health and said he was fine.

She continued, “The day he went missing and the days that followed were the worst days of our lives. The only consolation was knowing he was doing something he loved.”

Miss Bamfield also thanked everyone who helped find her father.

She added, “The shock and horror of knowing that we would never see him again was beyond words. It’s a terrible thing not to have an opportunity to say goodbye to someone you love so much.

“He was a truly amazing man and we were so proud of him and everything he achieved in his life. Our lives will never be the same without him. We miss him terribly.”

Det Sgt Ollie Newell of the Norfolk Police said CCTV images showed Mr. Bamfield exiting his black BMW car near the Hunstanton Sailing Club and walking his board to the beach while wearing his winter wetsuit.

He said that at 40 miles an hour, Mr. Bamfield was experiencing south and south-east winds, which he described as “difficult conditions”.

Two other windsurfers who knew him saw him sailing near the coast later on the afternoon of November 14, where he was struggling to make progress due to wind disturbances on the coast.

But they insisted that he “didn’t fight like he was in need,” said Sgt Newell.

Public buildings in King’s Lynn were illuminated in red in honor of Mr. Bamfield on the day of his funeral in June this year. The council also observed a minute’s silence for him.

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