THE death of an active member of the Tavistock community in 2014 has been described as a ’tragic accident’ by a coroner.

Mary Restell, 54, and her husband Roy, from Peter Tavy, were diving at the National Diving and Activity Centre in Chepstow in November 2014 when she became unresponsive and had to be pulled from the water during a training session — she died at the scene. Mr Restell was airlifted to a decompression unit at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

An inquest was told under-performing breathing regulators and a nitrogen-rich gas contributed to her death. Senior coroner Katy Skerett recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The high nitrogen mix in the tank could have made Mrs Restell drowsy and it would have been difficult to breath at the depth she was diving. She suffered an embolism and difficulties with her lungs.

Mrs Restell was chair of the Tavistock fundraising branch of the RNLI and she and her husband were said to be keen members of Seasearch, an organisation that trains volunteer divers to map sea bed types and marine life. The couple were regarded as experienced divers.

Shortly after her death tributes flooded in from family, friends and members of the organisations she was involved in.