Volunteer tells of moment he saw Matt Barclay's body in surf
A VOLUNTEER jet ski operator has told an inquest the moment he saw Matthew Barclay's lifeless body in the surf during the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships last year.
Brian Lewis told the inquest he was one of two jet ski operators who was watching over the Sunshine Coast teen's race, which started at 3.27pm.
Mr Lewis said surf conditions on the day Matthew died were "challenging" and "relentless."
He told the inquest while observing the under-15 race he noticed a competitor's head in the water, about 10 metre to the right of his position at the rear of the field.
"I saw a competitor in the water who was without a board," he said.
"I then noticed a board come towards him, but I am not sure where it came from.
"The competitor, who I now know as Matthew Barclay, then went under the water before springing back up again."
Mr Lewis said when he first saw Matthew in the water, before the board had passed over his location, he was making no attempt to signal for help.
"When I first saw Matthew in the water he was making no attempt to do anything," he said.
"He made no attempt to swim, no attempt to put his arms into the air or any attempt to keep his head above water.
"Something appeared to have happened earlier, but I did not see what that was."
The inquest before coroner Terry Ryan continues.
Asthma claims added to Matt Barclay family's distress
11.15am: THE coronial inquest into the death of Sunshine Coast surf lifesaver Matthew Barclay at the Australian Championships last year has begun in Brisbane.
The 14-year-old Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club rising star disappeared in the surf off Kurrawa while competing in a board event on March 28, 2012.
His body was located the following day.
Counsel assisting the coroner Peter Johns told the inquest on Monday that Matthew Barclay's death had nothing to do with his chronic asthma condition despite reports to the contrary in the Courier Mail.
The Barclay's barrister told the inquest the incorrect reporting had "caused them significant distress."
The first witness called to give evidence was Malcolm Flew who was the power craft coordinator at last year's Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships.
He was also a member of the carnival's safety and championship committees.
Mr Flew told the inquest on the day of Matthew's death no concerns had been raised at any committee meetings about the safety of under 15 competitors due to the surf conditions.
He said the conditions were "getting choppier and a bit larger" but were similar to conditions at other carnival's he had been involved with which did not result in the event being cancelled.
Mr Flew said no one suggested at the championship committee meeting held during the afternoon that competition should be cancelled based on surf conditions.
The inquiry before coroner Terry Ryan continues.
Inquest into death of Matt Barclay at surf titles begins
A THREE-DAY coronial inquest into the death of Sunshine Coast lifesaver, Matt Barclay, will begin today and question whether the national championships should have been cancelled over safety concerns.
Matt, 14, disappeared in the surf off Kurrawa, while competing in a board event at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Gold Coast, on March 28, 2012.
His body was found a day later. It was first believed he had been knocked unconscious by a wayward board and drowned.
At the pre-inquest hearing last month, it was heard an autopsy did not reveal any neck or head injuries and the cause of death was drowning.
Despite the autopsy report indicating mild chronic asthma changes, it was confirmed "Matthew was not suffering from an acute asthma attack at the time of death".
The coronial inquest in Brisbane will consider "the adequacy of the policies and procedures in place at the Surf Life Saving Australia 2012 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, relating to the postponement or abandonment of competition for the safety of competitors", and "the application of those policies and procedures to the conditions present at Kurrawa on March 28, 2012".
It will hear evidence from witnesses alleging that officials should have suspended all competition prior to Matt's death because of dangerous surf conditions.
Matt, one of Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club's rising stars, was the third lifesaver to die at Kurrawa, after Saxon Bird drowned in 2010 and Robert Gatenby died in 1996.
Saxon was knocked off his surf ski by a wayward surf ski, also prompting an inquest.