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Free spirit Jacob died filming whirlpools

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 23, 2014

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A FREE-SPIRITED Hayle photographer accidently drowned while filming whirlpools a coroner ruled last week.

Jacob Cockle, 28, was sucked into sluice tunnels at Carnsew Pool as he attempted to get underwater footage of the dangerous tidal phenomenon.

An inquest at Truro Coroner's Court heard that on May 28 last year, Jacob was filming whirlpools, before he got into the vortex to film shots of himself with a plastic horse head prop.

As he switched to an underwater camera on a pole, fast-moving water dragged him into the 40ft sluice tunnel before he resurfaced unconscious on the other side.

Deputy coroner Andrew Cox recorded a verdict of accidental death and said Jacob was a capable water man.

He added: "The evidence we have heard is unusually clear and uncontradictory. I am entirely satisfied Jacob went down to the harbour in Hayle with the intention of filming whirlpools.

"There's no doubt Jacob was a capable waterman.

"There was no doubt he was a risk taker. I accept, however, that all of those risks were not spontaneous or impulsive but were considered.

"I would like these tragic events to be a warning to anyone else contemplating swimming in the same area."

Friend and neighbour David Raine witnessed the tragic accident when he helped Jacob film at South Quay, as he had done on many occasions.

Mr Raine said: "He was excited because a whirlpool is at its biggest an hour before high water.

"He took risks but I wouldn't say he took risks much more than a young guy of his age who is excited to do things and loves life."

Mr Raine and a nearby fisherman came to Jacob's aid after he failed to resurface from the water after several minutes.

They tried to resuscitate Jacob before he was airlifted to Royal Cornwall Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A toxicology report found traces of drug, ketamine, in his system which could have had an effect on his cognitive reactions.

Despite signs warning people not to swim in the area, the inquest heard that Jacob regularly went to Carnsew to film with props he had picked up from charity shops.

Jacob was severely dyslexic, which his mother Carolyn Sheard claimed could affect his judgement. The former Truro College student was held in high esteem for his stunning surf and adventure photography and films.

Following the inquest, Mrs Sheard paid tribute to her popular son.

She said: "In his short lifetime, Jacob lived life to the fullest. He achieved more than some people could only dream about.

"Unfortunately Jacob saw no danger in either people or situations.

"He has been and still is an inspiration to many people to strive for what they believe in," said Mrs Sheard.

"Jacob was a free spirit; we as a family miss him more than words can tell but know that his memory will live on."

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