AN EXPERIENCED cave diver who died during a dive in Gwent may have become disorientated, said the county’s coroner.

Bonnie Cotier, 53, of Cambridgeshire, died in the Pwll-y- Cwm cave complex, in the Clydach Gorge, near Gilwern, on April 23 this year.

An inquest was told she went on a dive there for the first time, with fellow experienced divers Martyn Farr, the South and Mid-Wales cave rescue co-ordinator, and Duncan Price, who was mapping the caves.

After Mr Farr, with Mrs Cotier assisting, had taken photographs of Mr Price in a narrow part of the cave, the latter went off to continue his mapping project.

Mrs Cotier and Mr Farr remained in the water in the narrow part. But did not make it to the surface whenshe and Mr Farr returned to the entrance. Despite having little air left, he dived again and found her alive but “heavy”, as if exhausted.

While trying to bring her out, she broke away and as he was so lowon air he had to surface and call for help. Mr Price later recovered her body.

Mrs Cotier died of drowning and coroner Mr David Bowen recorded a verdict of accidental death.