Reports of the tragic death of Barry Swain, who was swept out to sea while crossing a beach near Longbluff.

Tragedy on 2nd June 2012

Update on 24th June 2012

We reported earlier a tragic incident on Saturday 2nd June when an Islander was swept off his feet by a high swell and pulled into the sea when crossing a beach near Longbluff on the west coast of the island. Later we were able to confirm that during a search and rescue operation the body of 26 year old Islander Barry Swain was found and that a funeral was held the next day.

We are now able to chronicle the events surrounding Barry's Death and also publish an Obituary on the separate Family News Page.

Summary of events surrounding Barry Swain's death

On Saturday 2nd June 2012 Barry Swain was walking along the narrow beach between Anchorstock and The Caves with three other island men, when they got caught by a set of large waves. The others managed to hang on to the cliff, but Barry, who was at the narrowest section, was swept into the sea that was a maelstrom of breaking waves.

The others tried to help Barry but it was too dangerous and one nearly got swept into the sea himself. They aborted further attempts when they lost sight of Barry and continued on to the Caves from where they contacted Tristan Radio to raise the alarm.

Search & Rescue teams were quickly mobilised and coordinated by Inspector Conrad Glass. Over the next 72 hours they searched the beaches between Anchorstock, The Caves, and Stony Beach and also did a comprehensive search at sea. The crews of the police and conservation RIBs, the Wave Dancer and Joseph Green’s private RIB covered the coastal area as well as off shore between Tristan and Inaccessible Island and the beaches around both islands.

After four days of searching in rough weather conditions, Barry’s body was found washed into a cave near the first hardy by Hackel Hill Road at The Caves on Tuesday 5th June. The body was retrieved by the Search & Rescue teams and brought back to the village where the funeral took place on Wednesday 6th June.

The Coroner’s conclusion, based on information from the Inquest File, ruled the cause of death as drowning, due to unfortunate circumstances.

See also Barry Swain's Obituary on the Family News Page

Editor's Note

Tristan da Cunha is a close-knit family community, and so this tragedy has had a huge effect on Islanders. The Tristan da Cunha Association is privileged to run from the UK on behalf of the island and we remind website visitors that any personal information is only released after liaison with and permission from island families. Our thoughts are with those families during this difficult time.