The inquest into the death of Justine Barringer, 44, from Iwade near Sittingbourne in Kent, has taken place at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone. The original incident was reported last year on Divernet.

Barringer, a British Transport police officer, had been on holiday in Gran Canaria and on the day of her death, 23 September, was taking part in a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver training course with a local dive-centre.

She was said to have dived to 27m from a boat at a site off Veneguera Beach, but during her ascent, at a depth of 10m, an instructor noted that she had become unresponsive.

Barringer was brought to the surface but went into cardiac arrest. Despite attempts to revive her on the dive-boat and at nearby Puerto de Mogan harbour, she was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination in Spain was reported to have proved inconclusive, but back in the UK pathologists found indications not only of decompression illness (DCI) but also of a condition called rhabdomyolysis.

This breakdown of damaged muscle causes the release into the bloodstream of myoglobin, the protein that stores oxygen in the muscles, and can affect organs such as the kidneys and heart.

It was suggested in the pathologists’ report that Barringer might have become dehydrated on her 40-minute run the night before the dive, with rhabdomyolysis occurring as a consequence.

Barringer had been a police officer for 25 years and regularly took part in events with a running club as a team-leader.

“Justine was a short-distance runner; she watched her health and took it very seriously,” said Mid-Kent Assistant Coroner Ian Wade.

After her run “she didn’t seem to have suffered any ill-effects but it is proposed such exercise the night before might have played some part in what happened.”

Cause of death was given as an arterial air embolism with acute severe DCI, brought about by scuba diving, and a verdict of accidental death was recorded.

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