Mike Knight died after he got caught up in a thunder storm while out swimming
Mike Knight had been taking a dip in the sea when violent winds and rain converged suddenly on the tourist resort of Magaluf in Majorca.
The father-of-seven was unable to get to back to shore in time and disappeared under the water just as lifeguards had changed their flags from green to yellow to indicate a storm was coming.
Mr Knight was pulled the sea but despite attempts to revive him, he already suffered massive brain damage from being submerged under the waves and he passed away in a Spanish hospital three weeks later.
An inquest heard the tragedy occurred last September after Mr Knight, 49, a former security guard, from Salford Greater Manchester had gone on the special trip to mark his 50th birthday which was due to the following November with two friends.
On the 23rd I got him up in the morning and we met up in Magaluf
Fellow holidaymaker Mark Hartley who also went on the trip with wife Carmel said Mr Knight had been “very excited” to be going abroad for the first time.
He told the Bolton hearing: “On the 23rd I got him up in the morning and we met up in Magaluf.
“We had a few drinks but I remember he was only drinking orange juice because he was feeling delicate from the night before.
“We went to a bar that was on the main strip and about a five minute walk from the promenade.
“Carmel and I went onto another bar while Mike was outside a bar near to the beach. After leaving him we didn’t see him again.
“When the storm started we got in a taxi and went back to the hotel. The streets were flooding it was so bad.
“The last time we saw him he was outside a bar near the beach, a couple of hundred feet from the wall where he must have made the phone calls.
Mr Knight was unable to get back to shore in time
“I tried to contact him but to no avail, we thought that he had gone back to the hotel. We had a trip planned the next day and I banged on his door but there was no answer.
“I thought that he must have been hungover from the day before so we went on the trip, and then his brother called me and told me what had happened.”
Mr Knight’s daughter, Emily said: “When I last spoke to him he said he was on Magaluf beach on the wall and he was having a drink.
“He was on his own. He said he was going to sit there all day in the sun. He didn’t say he was going for a swim.
“When I spoke to him he didn’t say anything about going in the water.
“He just seemed his normal happy self, he did seem like he could have had a drink but that was just his normal personality.”
Emily travelled out to Spain after being told that her father was in intensive care and needed a scan and added: “We were told that there was a possibility that only 5 per cent of his brain would still be working.
“We had that confirmed after he had a scan.
“I returned to the UK and went back to Spain after I had a phone call to say that he had a serious infection of pneumonia and that he had been having seizures.
Mr Knight had gone on the special trip to mark his 50th birthday
“I travelled back to Majorca and was told that he had been taking some antibiotics and that he had rallied.
“He was still unconscious, but his eyes would open and his head would moved but there was nothing there.
“I returned to the UK on the 10th October and I got a phone call on the 15th to say that he had died.”
Mr Knight’s partner Leila Ward said: “He was looking forward to going abroad and it was for his birthday present.
“The only time he had gone near it really was to Wales and holidays like that. The last conversation I had with him was when I was picking our daughter up from a school trip.
“He said ‘hang on I just need to pay this guy for a sun lounger’, and I told him to call me back later. He had never mentioned swimming or the sea.”
A post mortem revealed that Mr Knight’s brain injury had led to his developing pneumonia and a fatal bowel haemorrhage.
It is not thought there any traces of alcohol in his bloodstream.
The incident happened on the tourist resort of Magaluf
Recording a conclusion of misadventure, Coroner Alan Walsh said: “Mr Hartley said he knew the area well and it was one of the worst storms he had seen, with thunder and lightning and very heavy rain were the streets were flooded.
“Mr Knight was in the sea when the severe storm arose.
“He was someone who was clearly inexperienced in the sea and would not have known what to do and it all happened very very quickly.
“He was clearly in distress at the time he was seen and whilst in in the sea he would not have expected danger to be there.
“I am satisfied that there are protocols in place to rescue people who get into difficulty in the area, and Mr Knight was rescued from the sea quickly by the lifeguard.
“Mike Knight was someone who was wanting to enjoy the experience of being in the sea but it sadly led to his death.
“Tragically it was his first holiday abroad, and he was enjoying himself on his birthday trip where he have never been on a foreign trip before.”