CONCERNS over the dangers of open water swimming in the Lake District have been prompted following the inquest of a young man who lost his life in Ullswater.

Bryxzel Galeon, 21, died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the lake with his younger brother, Aixzyl on August 1 last year.

He had been on holiday in the Lake District with family and friends to celebrate his graduation from university.

A brave fisherman, swam out to the pair when he saw them floundering in the lake.

Yanek Kowal, an experienced lifeguard trainer, told Cockermouth Coroners court he noticed the two men and commented that neither looked like strong swimmers.

Fisherman Mr Kowal, aged in his 60s, said he thought it looked like they were going under water so he jumped in and swam over to them.

He added that the 21-year-old had gone under water so quickly - “almost in a flash”.

The coroner’s court heard that Mr Kowal had managed to pull the younger brother and another friend from the group, Christine Carino, to a nearby pontoon. By the time he had swum back to the shore, emergency services arrived.

Coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw issued a warning over the dangers of open water swimming as he gave a cause of death as drowning and concluded that Bryxzel’s death was due to misadventure.

“It’s an awful day for the families involved. A happy day in a matter of moments turned into a tragic disaster,” he said. “Bryxzel has got a full tummy. He has just had his dinner.

“With the benefit of hindsight it would have been better if he hadn’t gone into the water. It’s dangerous to go into water with a full tummy. This is fresh water. The body is less buoyant and swimming is harder.

“It’s extremely lucky Yanek went straight into the water to help, otherwise this might have been a double tragedy. Thankfully, Aixzyl was rescued.

“Swimming is dangerous. It’s not that people shouldn’t swim. They should make sure they are aware of the dangers of swimming after eating.”

Following the inquest, David Walker, leisure safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said: “It is so very sad to hear that a celebration of a milestone in a young person’s life turned into a tragedy.

“It should be remembered that swimming in rivers and lakes can pose a number of dangers, even if the water looks calm.

“It is advisable not to swim on a full stomach and to avoid alcohol before getting into the water. The temperature of the water can also be surprise to those who are unaccustomed to swimming in lakes and rivers. This can cause ‘cold water shock’ and lead swimmers to get into difficulty.”

Cumbria Fire and Rescue attended the tragic incident as reported in the Gazette on August 1.

“There has been a total of 69 rescues from water by Cumbria Fire and Rescue since 2017,” said a Cumbria and Fire Rescue spokesman. “With 16 lakes, four reservoirs, many smaller tarns and over 100 miles of coastline, Cumbria has plenty of open water locations and preventing accidents is key to ensuring people are able to enjoy our beautiful landscape safely and have a strong understanding of the risks and dangers of water.”

This April, Cumbria Fire and Rescue is taking part in a national drowning prevention campaign called Be Water Aware in a bid to raise awareness of the risk of accidental drowning. It has been recorded that drowning is among the leading causes of accidental deaths across the UK.

In 2006, three young men, who were part of a martial arts group, drowned in Ullswater and in 2005 a father drowned in the lake after pushing his daughters on an inflatable boat. In 2011, a young rugby player also drowned in Ullswater after getting in difficulties during a kayaking trip.

Pete Kelly, Adventure Swimming director of Swim the Lakes, based in Ambleside, said most drownings happen just a few metres from the shore.

“Ullswater is like a perfect painting of the Lake District and it’s easy access to get to,” he said. “However the mood in the water can change in an instant, and even though it can be a nice summer’s day people don’t see the lovely blue water as a risk.

“Everyone should treat the water the respect it deserves, if you aren’t a confident swimmer wear a lifejacket. Most drownings are tragic accidents that could be avoided, the risks are there and it’s comes down to personal responsibility at the end of the day.”

Last August, Mr Kowal told the Gazette that it was the toughest decision of his life to choose which man to save. He also helped specialist divers to locate the body of the 21-year-old in August.

Mr Bryxel, of London, was born in the Philippines in 1997.

His family moved to the UK when he was seven.

He did well at school academically and particularly enjoyed sport, playing basketball and football.

Bryxel had just completed a degree in computer science at Leicester University.

His father, Emetrio Galeon, said he was a “happy, content, loving” young man who was very close to his family”.