North West Wales

Drowned men 'unaware of danger' at Llanberis waterfall

Llanberis waterfall

Two men who drowned at a north Wales waterfall did not realise the dangers of swimming in it after drinking alcohol and taking drugs, an inquest has heard.

Steffan Vernon, 33, and Alex Hadley, 21, died at Ceunant Mawr waterfall near Llanberis, Gwynedd, on 7 June.

The inquest in Caernarfon concluded their deaths were accidental.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones will write to the council asking it to install danger warning signs at the site.

The hearing was told the friends had gone for an early morning walk with three others after a night of drinking and socialising.

Mr Vernon went into the water first, followed by Mr Hadley, before both got into difficulty.

Image caption Llanberis mountain rescue teams were called to help with the rescue

Their friend Barnaby Lloyd Foster went in to help but had to pulled from the water by others when he began suffering from the cold.

Post mortem examinations found traces of cocaine in both men, while Mr Vernon had taken ecstasy and Mr Hadley's blood alcohol levels exceeded the drink-drive limit.

Pathologist Dr Mark Lloyd told the inquest: "They would not have been able to react."

Mr Pritchard Jones added: "I'm fairly certain that hypothermia would have set in almost as soon as they entered the water... and [they] would also have been affected by the substances that had been taken and were present at the time.

"I don't think they appreciated the dangerous situation they were in."

The men's families complained there were no warning signs at the site and said the friends would not have gone in the water if they had known the waterfall's pool was 9m (29ft) deep.

Mr Pritchard Jones said that while signs could not be installed at all of Snowdonia's waterfalls, he would write to the local authority asking it to put signs at Ceunant Mawr because it is so close to the village of Llanberis.

Gwynedd council said it was considering placing warning signs and life-saving equipment at the site.

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