An inquest has concluded into the death of a former Salford Red Devils and Rochdale Hornets star.
David Fell and his teenage son and daughter were caught in a rip current while swimming at Reighton Gap, near Filey, on July 22 last year, but whilst the teenagers survived and were taken for treatment, David was sadly pronounced dead later in the day after being rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Fell had not been in the water originally but went after his son and daughter when the pair got into difficulty. The girl was left seriously injured and suffered an abdominal aortic rupture.
Assistant coroner for North Yorkshire Oliver Longstaff ruled that he had not drowned due to the lack of fluid found on his lungs, and instead considered it was most likely he had suffered a cardiac arrest brought on by the stress of the situation, though this could not be conclusively proved, the Yorkshire Post has reported.
The RNLI said the crew were on scene “very quickly”, as they were preparing to take part in an exercise nearby when the emergency call came in, and Mr Well was transferred to paramedics in Filey “at top speed by boat,” but the 55-year-old didn’t make it.
Recording a narrative conclusion, Mr Longstaff said: “This was a tragedy for the Fell family. The members of the public who rescued his children showed considerable bravery and heroism.
“This incident was not anybody’s fault in a legal sense and there was no breach of duty to David Fell.
“I find it significant that none of the witnesses put Mr Fell at the scene of the rescue. He was a strong swimmer and family man and I find it inconceivable that he would not have wanted to participate in the rescue of his children. Nobody heard him shout for help. The next time anyone saw him, he was motionless.”
Fell also played rugby union for Orrell Rugby Union Football Club as well as the 13-a-side code for Rochdale and Salford in the 1980s and 1990s, representing both codes in the Lancashire team.
Everyone at Serious About Rugby League offers their condolences to Fell’s family following the sad news.