AN EXPERIENCED diver who died during a trip to explore a shipwreck off the coast of Scarborough was likely to have suffered a heart attack as he entered the water.

Christopher Baker, 74, from Scarborough, went out with other divers on July 8, 2018, to the wreck Constantia, five miles offshore.

Mr Baker disappeared after going into the water and his body was not found until July 22, and recovered on July 23, 2018.

An inquest into his death at Northallerton’s Evolution Centre heard Mr Baker had an undiagnosed heart condition involving a narrowing of the arteries.

Christopher Robinson, from Hunmanby, was in charge of the boat that took Mr Baker, and fellow divers Thomas Miller and David Herbert-Moment, to the shipwreck on a hot summer day last year.

Mr Robinson, working with Joyce Jesson in leading the dive, said: “He had been out with us before and was a very experienced diver.”

He added that Mr Baker was more used to diving from his own boat which was nearer the water level than Mr Robinson’s vessel, which meant divers had to drop around a metre into the water.

He said: “It was perfect conditions – the sea was flat and visibility was good. Chris did struggle with his equipment and was a bit agitated about finding a clip on the front of his kit.

"But he soon composed himself and was ready to go in. He went in with a big splash and I said, “What the hell is he doing?” as his arms and legs were all over the place.

“But then he righted himself and I watched him head down towards the rope and bubbles came up as though he was breathing.”

Thomas Miller said he had been diving for three years and said he admired Mr Baker greatly.

“It was a very hot day and we were sweating a lot. I waited in the water while the others got ready. I saw Chris go into the water and then he went down quite fast."

Mr Miller said he and Mr Herbert-Moment looked for Mr Baker as they got to the wreck but could not find him. When their time was up they descended slowly to decompress, and assumed Mr Baker was in the boat. It was then hoped Mr Baker had used another buoy to surface and the crew searched for him but without success.

The divers could not return to the water due to the amount of time it would take to decompress again. The crew called the Coastguard and further unsuccessful searches continued into the night.

Clive Ward, a local diver, returned to the scene on July 22. He said: "I believed Chris wouldn't be around the wreck, otherwise the others would have found him, so I went out in loops and found him 27 metres away."

Coroner Michael Oakley recorded a conclusion of natural causes. He said: "He went to the bottom in a short amount of time, so it was likely he was unconscious. The cause of death was cardiac arrest."