A 30-year-old man drowned as the result of a tragic accident during a day out with friends on the River Waveney, a coroner has ruled.

On Wednesday, an inquest at Suffolk Coroners' Court concluded into the death of Nathan Strowger.

Mr Strowger went missing on July 10 last year, after his boat capsized on the River Waveney between Beccles and Oulton Broad.

The court heard that Mr Strowger and four of his friends, another man and three women, had spent the afternoon together on his boat.

Senior coroner for Suffolk Nigel Parsley read evidence before the court from people who had also been on the River Waveney that day.

During the afternoon and evening, the group could be heard talking loudly and laughing, and Duncan Pitts observed that they were “merry”. Mr Pitts’ partner, Suzy Gray, also noticed that the engine of Mr Strowger’s boat appeared to be sitting rather low in the water.

East Anglian Daily Times: Nathan Strowger (left) and Danny Smith (right) pictured on the night of the fatal accident (Monday, July 10) (Image: Submitted)Nathan Strowger (left) and Danny Smith (right) pictured on the night of the fatal accident (Monday, July 10) (Image: Submitted) (Image: Submitted)

The witnesses recalled that at about 9.30pm the tone of the group’s voices changed, and they realised the friends were in danger.

Mr Parsley read evidence given by Melissa Hewett, who was on board the vessel.

She recalled Mr Strowger asking his friend, Daniel Smith, to move to the front of the boat as it had become too heavy. She heard Mr Strowger say that he could not swim.

Another friend, Leanne Gibb, remembered the moment the boat sank, recalling that the boat seemed to “tip over” very suddenly.

Mr Strowger’s four friends all made it to shore, where they were assisted by members of the public. However, Mr Strowger was unaccounted for.

Emergency services were called and a three-day search was mounted between Suffolk and Norfolk police forces.

Mr Strowger’s body was found in the river on July 13 by a member of the public.

Also giving evidence was Paul Glatzel, an expert witness on powerboats and marine safety.

Mr Glatzel said that the overall condition of the boat was “very poor”.

He explained that modifications made had reduced the height of the boat, which affected its seaworthiness. There were numerous entry points for water, and there was no battery for the bilge pump.

A post-mortem investigation found that Mr Strowger had drowned and revealed cannabis was in his system at the time of his death.

Concluding the inquest, Mr Parsley said that he believed Mr Strowger had died as the result of “a tragic accident”.

“This was a group of friends who were having a great day out on a boat, and a tragedy happened,” he said.

He recorded a conclusion of accidental death, and expressed his own condolences to Mr Strowger’s family.