36-year-old lifeguard Wesley Wood challenged a friend to a race in June last summer, according to Jen Mills of the U.K.’s highest-circulating newspaper Metro. An inquest heard Wood saying to Darren Speirs: “I bet you £20 ($24) I can swim across faster than you.” The two men stripped to their boxers and waded in the water after “a couple of cans.”
Wood struggled, going underwater several times before drowning just 10 feet from the edge of Ormsgill Reservoir in Barrow-in-Furness, Cambria, England, as stated by the inquest. Speirs, along with friends Diane Parkinson and Trevor O’Neil, pulled Wood out of the water. Unfortunately, they were too late.
|Photo Credit: SWNS (via Metro)|
They took Wood to Furness General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Toxicology reports revealed that he “had 217 milligrams of alcohol in his blood when he died.” The said amount was the equivalent of “two-and-a-half times the legal age for driving.” Speirs managed to “swim around 30 feet into the reservoir” before finding out that Wood was no longer beside him, as explained by an inquest at Barrow Town Hall.
Speirs recounts, “I went down five or six times and on the last time I found him. I put my hands under his arms and managed to get him up a bit but it was too hard. It was just a stupid £20 bet.” Julie Beswick, Wood’s mother, describes her son as gentle, kind, mischievous, and caring. She adds, “He was into fishing, motorbikes, swimming, water-skiing and rock-climbing.”
|Photo Credit: The Mail SWNS (via Metro)|
The staff needed to withdraw life support, as continuing it would be inhumane. The victim was reportedly a lifeguard and fitness instructor. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Beswick asserts, “I would urge people who have drunk alcohol and find themselves in the same circumstances not to swim.”