Dad swept to his death by single freak wave during lockdown fishing trip


A dad was swept to his death by a freak wave during a fishing trip after the first lockdown ended.

Richard Wooff, 46, a labourer, had set out with three friends to the beach at South Gare, near Middlesbrough.

The four men planned to spend the day fishing at a popular fishing spot by the lighthouse.

But an inquest heard that when they arrived the sea was so rough that Mr Wooff, described as an experienced angler, volunteered to check out the conditions on the jetty.

Friend Anthony Williams told the hearing at Teesside Coroner’s Court: “A massive wave came over and crashed down, dragging him into the sea.”

The fishing party threw a life ring towards Mr Wooff and dialled 999.

Lifeboatmen and ambulance crews pulled rescued him but he died despite desperate attempts to revive him at around 5pm on June 7 this year.

Coroner Karin Welsh concluded that Mr Wooff, from Redcar, died as a result of a “tragic accident”.

Dave Cocks, for Redcar RNLI, said: “This was a terrible accident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man involved.

The South Gare has been a popular fishing spot for many years.

“Those who fish there know that rough seas attract the fish. The recent strong winds coupled with spring tides mean the sea has been particularly rough over the past few days.

“We would urge anybody who plans to go to the coast in rough weather to consider the dangers.”