Alcohol is most likely to have been the major cause of the drowning of a Hastings man while he was diving at a Central Hawke's Bay beach a month before Christmas two years ago, according to a Coroner's finding.

He was Edward Mark ("Ed") Adams, who was 56 when he died at Pourerere on the Sunday afternoon on November 23, 2014.

Coroner Carla na Nagara was told that Mr Adams had been drinking after playing a nine-hole morning round of golf and before going diving with a friend.

He disappeared during the dive, and his body was found in a shore search the following day. Toxicology tests later revealed a blood-alcohol level of 159mg per 100ml, which compares with the over 20 years drink driving limit of 50mg per 100ml.


A heart attack resulting in drowning could not "definitively excluded," the coroner said, but she considered it a lesser possibility.

"The investigation report concluded that alcohol was the major contributing factor to Mr Adams' death," she said. "I accept that conclusion."

According to statements, Mr Adams played a golf with friend Tarn Ransfield and drank some beer during the round, which finished about 10.30am.

Mr Adams had a "couple of beers" as they drove to Pourerere after gathering their diving gear, planning a dive for seafood about the early-afternoon low tide.

They entered the water about 1km south of Pourerere, and the pair would signal to each other with a thumbs-up that they were OK. They were swimming back in when Mr Ransfield stopped at a rock to rest he could no longer see his fishing mate.

He soon established Mr Adams had also not reached the shore, and returned to the sea to start searching, as others on the beach called emergency services.

The Police national dive squad arrived the next day but it was not until late afternoon that the body was found.

Mr Ransfield told police Mr Adam had drunk only a couple of bottles of beer at golf, and two more as they drove to Pourerere, and did not appear intoxicated.