A 15-year-old Nelson boy found dead with a cord around his neck was the victim of a "fatal accident" while practicing tying knots, a coroner has found.

Coroner Carla na Nagara has ruled Ethan Herron accidentally hung himself on April 17 last year, after spending the day playing amongst trees and bushes with his great-grandfather's electric drill.

He did not respond when his mother Greta Herron called out to him twice at about 4:30pm and 6pm.

Ms Herron went outside to squirt him with a bottle of water after the second call, thinking he was ignoring her and hoping she would make him laugh.


When he didn't respond, she noticed his lips looked "funny", the report said.

She called out to her step-father Gavin Scott, who found Ethan kneeling with a yellow cord tied tightly around his neck.

He removed the cord with a knife.

However, Ethan had no pulse and was not breathing and could not be revived.

Coroner na Nagara said the evidence before her "overwhelmingly" painted Ethan as a happy and well-adjusted teenager.

He had been bullied at school over his red hair and had "perhaps" been forced into giving over lunch money, but it did not appear to have upset him significantly, her report said.

She said Ethan had strong friendships, a supportive family and did not demonstrate any signs of being suicidal on the day of his death.

On the day before he died, he had been practicing knot tying from a book and had become frustrated at not being able to tie one correctly, she said.


A submission from his mother said: "He was just having a good time mucking around. I believe he died as a result of an accident. I don't believe he would have done it on purpose."

There was no evidence indicating Ethan was intending to kill himself, Coroner na Nagara said.

She judged his death to be the result of an accidental hanging and extended sympathy to his family and friends.