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Attleborough climber fell to his death in Vietnam, inquest hears

Aiden Webb, of Attleborough. Photo: SWNS ANL-161025-111521001
Aiden Webb, of Attleborough. Photo: SWNS ANL-161025-111521001

An Attleborough man fell to his death in Vietnam as he tried to tackle a mountain alone, an inquest has heard.

Aiden Webb told his family before setting off: “Apologies in advance to all family members who think I’m loco, and reckless I’m actually a very safe climber and know my limits.”

Aiden Webb, of Attleborough. Photo: SWNS ANL-161025-111533001
Aiden Webb, of Attleborough. Photo: SWNS ANL-161025-111533001

But the 22 year-old, who was an experienced climber, plunged from the 10,312ft Fransipan peak and drowned in a waterfall.

The court heard he injured his arm and then his knee after getting into trouble during the single-handed ascent.

His worried girlfriend told him via Facebook to seek help for his injuries but he initially refused, saying he was determined to reach the summit by himself.

His body was found five days later after a major search by forest rangers using volunteers and drones over the remote ravines.

Aiden was such a joy to be around. We were a very close family and it was a privilege to be his parents

His father Trevor uncle Michael also flew out to join the rescue effort in northwest Vietnam in June.

An external medical examination by the Vietnamese concluded that he died “in a mountain climbing accident by way of drowning after falling unconscious”.

However, the inquest heard that a post-mortem in UK was unable to ascertain a cause of death because his body had been embalmed.

It found no signs of fractures or serious bleeding and a toxicology report on his blood and urine came back clean.

The court heard Aiden had been messaging girlfriend Bluebell Baughan on Facebook and initially rejected her suggestion that she should call for help.

He told the 25 year-old not to get help for him as he was “determined” to reach the summit.

However, he changed his mind after getting injured during the expedition and began feeling the effects of the cold.

Norfolk Coroners Court heard that Aiden, who had been out since the Friday morning, sent Bluebell his location early on Saturday as he agreed he needed help.

The last message she received from him was at 6.18am local time on the Saturday which jokingly said he had dropped her torch down a waterfall. His body was found by rangers five days later on Thursday June 9 at 12.50 close to the last location he had given his girlfriend of two years.

The couple met at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, where Aiden studied drama and Bluebell studied performing arts.

Yesterday Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, recorded an open verdict and said: “We know he was to trying to climb Fransipan Mountain alone.

“We know what he got into difficulties, he was injured and had deep cut in his arm he had badly hurt his knee and couldn’t move very well and we know he was found in a stream.

“The medical cause of death is unascertained due to the embalming.”

A written statement from Mr Webb’s parents, Trevor Webb and Simone Taylor said: “Aiden was such a joy to be around. We were a very close family and it was a privilege to be his parents.”

They also thanked everyone who helped search for and recover his body.

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