Brit and granddaughter drowned 'while he tried to save her' from sea in Portgual

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Pensioner and granddaughter drowned 'while he tried to save her' from sea in Portgual


An inquest on Tuesday heard how a pensioner died while trying to save his five-year-old granddaughter from rough seas on holiday in Portugal.

Lara Lewis was swept away by 10ft waves while she was playing in the sand on Praia do Salgados beach near Nazare, 80 miles north of Lisbon.

Her grandfather, Brian O'Dwyer, 66, ran into rescue her but "got into difficulties himself" and drowned.

Mr O'Dwyer's wife, Jill, also tried to rescue her but could ultimately only look on in horror with Lara's four-year-old brother from the beach.

Lara's parents, Philip Lewis, a professor of remote sensing in University College London's geography department, and Sian, who writes about the environment and development, were also on holiday but were further along the beach on the Portuguese west coast.

This week's inquest heard how the O'Dwyers and their grandchildren were almost 450 yards outside the 'safe swimming' area on 21 August last year.

According to the Daily Telegraph, coroner Andrew Walker read a statement on behalf of Mrs O'Dwyer, which said: "I tried to enter the water but was forced back by a wave. I looked around for help and waved frantically but I don't remember anything after that as I must have fainted."

A local fisherman, Antonio Ribelo, told how he raised the alarm after finding the boy wandering alone along the beach.

While trying to help find his parents, he saw Mrs O'Dwyer collapsed on the beach. He said: "Something was not right, and then I noticed a body floating in the sea. Then I saw another body, which looked like that of a child, where the waves were breaking."

Antonio and a fellow fisherman pulled them both from the sea, and tried to revive the girl until paramedics arrived.

However, after 45 minutes of using "advanced life support techniques" they were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Andrew Walker ruled a verdict of accidental death. According to the Daily Mail, he said: "A short time after 13.30 hours, Brian Gillespie O'Dwyer went into the sea to rescue his granddaughter who had run into the sea, where he drowned.

"Lara Lewis was drowned having run into the sea, and I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that she died as a result of an accident."

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