A coroner has praised the bravery of fellow swimmers who put their lives at "high risk" in trying to rescue a Nepalese man who then disappeared, never to be seen again.
Rodney Brender made the comments on Tuesday in finding there was no doubt that Bigul Pandit drowned in the Murray River adjacent to Noreuil Park on January 9 at 7pm.
"I cannot comprehend the pain and suffering for his family and friends from his death," he said.
Three family members attended the inquest.
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Mr Brender, based on a detailed submission from police, painted a graphic, desperate picture of Mr Pandit's last moments that evening, when he was attending a family gathering.
"He was a weak swimmer," he said of the 21-year-old.
One other swimmer saw Mr Pandit disappear under the surface of the fast-flowing current, only to reappear again.
"He was yelling 'help, somebody help me'," Mr Brender said.
"He kept going under. He was gasping for air."
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But two other swimmers in particular did everything they could rescue Mr Pandit.
That involved them putting their arms around Mr Pandit in order to bring him to the shore.
But Mr Pandit, the inquest heard, was panicking.
He repeatedly flailed his arms about and, at times, tried to climb on top of his would-be rescuers.
Eventually, another man had to jump into the river to come to the aid of these two other swimmers.
When he got them to the shore, they looked back and Mr Pandit could not be seen.
They were so exhausted by their efforts, Mr Brender said, that they could not stand.
The water was deep and cold where Mr Pandit got into trouble, all of that exacerbated by the river's current.
The head of the search team, Senior-Constable Andrew Jones, said that "unfortunately" the extensive search that night and later searches, including one near the Noreuil boat ramp in mid-May, failed to find any trace of Mr Pandit.
He rebutted any suggestion that Mr Pandit had faked his disappearance.
"He had no (immigration) visa issues whatsoever."
Mr Brender said it was clear that nothing else could come to light to suggest Mr Pandit was the victim of anything but an accidental drowning.
He said low water levels caused by the drought had since revealed the vast array of dead trees, branches and similar debris strewn along a three-kilometre stretch of the river bed.
That, he said, illustrated how there were hundreds of hidden locations in which Mr Pandit's body could have become lodged after he drowned.
Mr Brender concluded the inquest by passing on the community's condolences to Mr Pandit's family.
The Border Mail