A fit, healthy pensioner lost his life after an accident on a popular Pembrokeshire trail, despite efforts by members of the public to save him.

An inquest, on Thursday October 26, heard that David Townsend, 72, regularly went on a Sunday morning bike ride along the Brunel Quay cycle path with his wife.

On May 7 this year the couple set off along the trail at around eight in the morning. Both their bikes were relatively new and regularly serviced. The pair always wore cycle helmets.

They reached McDonald's in Haverfordwest and turned around to head home. The path was quite quiet that day, but they had passed a woman running in the opposite direction with her dog.

On their return journey they passed the same woman. On approaching her they cycled in single file. Mr Townsend’s wife went in front of him, and they exchanged pleasantries with the runner as they passed.

Mrs Townsend then heard her husband say something. She looked back to see him lying at the side of the cycle path. He was not moving and was unconscious.

Mrs Townsend, a nurse, administered CPR while the woman with the dog dialled 999. The pair were then helped by an off-duty A&E nurse and GP who were walking on the trail.

The nurse administered chest compressions while Mrs Townsend gave rescue breaths. The GP kept count of the CPR and updated emergency services on the situation.

Paramedics arrived around 20 minutes later followed by an air ambulance. At 10.33 Mr Townsend’s heart began to beat again. He was airlifted to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff.

CT scans showed that Mr Townsend had suffered spinal cord contusion caused by traumatic C spine injury.

Dr Christopher Gough, consultant at the intensive care unit, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, said that, given the spinal trauma it was highly likely that Mr Townsend would have been quadriplegic. There was also a possibility that he may have sustained brain damage.

Consultation with his family concluded that he would not have a quality of life that he would be happy with, and the decision was made to withdraw life support on May 9.

Mr Townsend had registered to be an organ donor and his wishes were followed.

Deputy Pembrokeshire Coroner, Gareth Lewis, said it could not be determined what had caused Mr Townsend to fall from his bike.

“The evidence does not allow me to make a finding on how he fell of his bike or what caused it,” he said.

He recorded a conclusion of accidental death, saying: “Mr Townsend tragically died from injuries sustained as a result of a fall from his bike.”

He extended his condolences to Mr Townsend’s family and thanked them for attending the inquest.