The father of three who drowned after falling in the Thames was an experienced rowing instructor.

A 48-year-old man who drowned last winter was reportedly on his way to coach a team from the Thames Rowing Club when an accident occurred that resulted in his death.

Michael Hill, 48, was readying a motor boat to take him to the rowing club in Putney when he had trouble with water coming into the craft, according to a fellow coach who testified at Westminster’s coroner’s court.

Dustyn Butler testified that Hill had found a fault with the boat on the evening of 2 February 2015.

“He told me it was taking on water. I ran to get a new bumper but when I came back he said he had sorted it out and put the bumper on.”

Butler then left for his training session, expecting Mr Hill would catch up. Hill’s motorised launch was later found circling on the river, and the court heard that the kill cord was found to have been unattached to experienced waterman Hill.

Although Mr Butler insisted Hill had been wearing a life jacket, the man’s body was recovered five weeks later on 8 March without one.

Richard Craig-McFeely, a jogger, reportedly told the hearing that he heard Hill shouting “I’m drowning!” in the dark “at least five times,” as he came near to the site but could not locate the man.

Craig-McFeely and two student rowers tried to go to Mr Hill’s aid but were unable to find him in the dark.

The boat that Hill was using was reportedly later examined by a deputy harbour-master, who found the boat to be seaworthy in spite of an anomaly with the gear position.

Coroner Shirley Radcliffe reportedly ruled Mr Hill died of immersion in the water with heart disease a secondary factor, saying: “I believe it was an accident.”

Related links:

IPCC investigation urges more guidance in marine rescues

Accidental drowning ruled in death of amateur yacht racer