Young man drowned on UK’s hottest day ever after going missing near Clacton Pier

A 21-year-old man drowned after going missing off the coast on the hottest day the UK has ever seen, an inquest has heard.

Sujal Sahu, from Cambridge, disappeared in the sea around Clacton-on-Sea Pier in Essex, on 19 July, when temperatures in parts of the country topped 40C.

Emergency services rushed to the pier following reports that six people were in difficulty in the water and saved five people, but Sujal could not be accounted for.

London Heathrow recorded 40.2C (107F) at 12.50pm that same day, the Met Office said – for the first time on record in the UK.

Four days later, Sujal’s body was found face-down several miles away off the coast of Jaywick, near the village’s Martello Tower.

Essex Coroner’s Court heard that a postmortem examination at Colchester Hospital concluded that Mr Sahu had drowned, pending a toxicology report.

The inquest was adjourned until July next year, although senior coroner Lincoln Brookes indicated this was a “backstop date” that could be brought forward.

At least 14 people, many of whom were in their teens, are thought to have died in open water during last month’s heatwave.

The youngest of them – 13-year-old Robert Hattersley – drowned in the River Tyne near Ovingham, Northumberland.

Emergency services rushed to the scene at around 4.15pm on Sunday.

Police officers, firefighters and rescue workers searched for Robert and his body was found in the water shortly afterwards.

The UK’s newly appointed Health Secretary Steve Barclay had warned of “significant dangers” for people tempted to swim in a river, urging those venturing outdoors to use “common sense” and follow the advice of public health experts.

He added: “There is a particular message, particularly for teenagers, children, some of those who may be tempted to go for a swim – there’s significant dangers of that, quite often when people go swimming in rivers when we have very hot weather.”

Brits were warned the weather poses a danger to life in multiple ways, as well as putting pressure on the NHS and causing disruption across transport networks.

The abnormal weather is fuelled by climate change, which is making every heatwave more intense, frequent and likely, scientists say.

Roads melted and firefighters were kept busy battling wildfires.

There were also warnings of pressures on hospitals from the extreme temperatures, and concerns ambulance services would face rising numbers of calls as the heat peaks.