17 November, 2003

A verdict of accidental death was recorded by the Coroner for the British Antarctic Territory, at the inquest (held on 14 November) into the death of marine biologist Kirsty Brown. Miss Brown, 28, was attacked without warning by a leopard seal while she was snorkelling at her study site at British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Rothera Research Station on 22 July 2003.

From the Court Room, Town Hall in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, the Senior Magistrate and Coroner, Mr Nick Sanders concluded formally that the cause of death was drowning due to a leopard seal attack and he recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Mr Sanders asked for the following comments to be relayed:

  • His formal condolences to Kirsty’s family, her friends and her colleagues both at Rothera and elsewhere in British Antarctic Survey.
  • His thanks to BAS for the assistance to his investigation. He paid tribute to everyone at Rothera Research Station. This tragedy was a reminder of the dangers encountered when conducting research in the Antarctic.
  • He had been very impressed by the professionalism and skill of everyone involved.
  • He particularly commended those directly involved in the incident, including the snorkelling party, the boat crew and the medical team. Their actions had been in the highest traditions of the British Antarctic Survey.

Issued by BAS Press Office:

Linda Capper tel: 01223 221448, mobile 07714 233744 email l.capper@bas.ac.uk or
Athena Dinar tel: 01223 221414, mobile: 07740 822229 email: a.dinar@bas.ac.uk