Huge wave kills British dad while on holiday in France

Man's spine broken by huge wave in southwest France

Updated: 
British tourist dies in France after wave gives him whiplash while swimming in sea


A British father of three has been killed after being hit by a large wave while swimming at a popular beach in southwest France..

Rob Walton, 36, head coach of Rugby Lions, suffered fatal whiplash after being hit in the spine on Monday.

He was on holiday with his wife and four children and had been staying at a campsite in Labenne, in the Aquitaine region.

See also: The most dangerous holiday destinations for Brits revealed

Preliminary investigations by police say he was "hit in the spine by a big wave" and suffered whiplash, reports the Mirror,

It is thought he then got caught up in a surge of water and was spun around.

Lifeguards pulled him from the water after other holidaymakers spotted him floating on the surface.

Emergency services attended the scene at 2pm and tried to revive the man for an hour.

According to reports in the Express, the sea was not described as particularly rough at the time, but that the wave had been "strong". It is believed it could have broken the man's spine.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Lionel Couture, director of services at Labenne Town Hall, said: "When he was brought of the water he was in an advanced state of drowning.

"A death like this in summer is extremely rare. They do occur in winter when swimmers take to the sea."

The beaches in the Landes area are very popular, and contain the largest number of surfing hotspots in Europe.

According to the Coventry Telegraph, Rob was known to his friends as Yoghurt, and began his rugby career at Hinckley RFC, where he played for every age group.

In 2001, he played for Shirley RFC in Christchurch, New Zealand, and was given the chance to play alongside Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.

Before retiring from the sport, he also played for Coventry RFC.

A Rugby Lions spokesman said: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this sad time.

"He may have passed away but he will not be forgotten. Once a Lion, always a Lion."

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