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British grandfather, 61, is killed trying to save his grandsons, seven and ten, in the sea off Crete


A Scottish grandfather has been killed while trying to save his two grand children from drowning in choppy waters off the coast of the Greek island of Crete, authorities said Wednesday.

Officials from the local coast guard said the 61-year-old man jumped into the sea to help reel out his two grandsons, aged seven and 10, who were caught in strong currents in the craggy bay of Gouves.

Locals, including two waiters from a seaside restaurant, dove into the sea to assist him in his bid to save his grandchildren. Coast guard crew were also called in, helping haul out the two boys, tossing them ropes and an orange buoy.

‘At some point, he just got exhausted and it was impossible for rescue crew to reach him because of the turbulence in the water,’ said the owner of a local café where the man and his family frequented daily during their holiday.

A woman who asked not to be named said: ‘The lifeguard had to dive in six times to try and reach him. And once he did, he was gone, in a terrible state. They had to rope him and pull him out by sea, like a piece of log.’

”It was terrible. His wife was watching on in horror.’

Antonis Farasarakis, the lifeguard, said the sight of the grandfather when he finally managed to reach him was ‘just harrowing’. 

Heartrending footage shows a man in swimming trunks with a rope in his hand jumping from the coast guard speedboat and swimming in the choppy waters on Tuesday

The elderly man was able to push the boys up the craggy shore to a lifeguard and other bystanders who threw down a circular lifebuoy and ropes to haul them to safety (pictured: the scene of the tragedy off the village of Gouves)

The elderly man was able to push the boys up the craggy shore to a lifeguard and other bystanders who threw down a circular lifebuoy and ropes to haul them to safety (pictured: the scene of the tragedy off the village of Gouves)  

The lifebuoy which was thrown down to the children by rescuers as the grandfather pushed them up the craggy shore to safety

The lifebuoy which was thrown down to the children by rescuers as the grandfather pushed them up the craggy shore to safety

Officials from the local coast guard said the 61-year-old man jumped into the sea to help reel out his two grandsons, aged seven and 10, who were caught in strong currents in the craggy bay of Gouves

Officials from the local coast guard said the 61-year-old man jumped into the sea to help reel out his two grandsons, aged seven and 10, who were caught in strong currents in the craggy bay of Gouves

He said: ‘I still can’t think of it, because when I finally reached him against the rocks, he was badly injured, in pieces almost. I am in shock. I don’t want to think or talk about it.’ But at least he managed to help save his grandsons.’

Both boys were taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries. They were both purported to be in shock, receiving psychological support following the tragic loss of their grandfather. 

Their mother, who stayed behind that day at the hotel the family was staying, was not reachable.

The man was holidaying with his wife and daughter, the children’s mother. 

He was minding the boys, with his wife, when the boys they decided to veer off the main beach, preferring a craggy, isolated bay for a dip, Tuesday afternoon.

‘He was an extremely pleasant man, who would come for coffee and a local cheese pie every morning,’ the café owner said. ‘They had been here for about a week. The tragedy must have occurred on the final days of their stay here.

Authorities said his body was taken to a state coroner to be examined and to determine whether he drowned or died of heart failure, or other medical complication. 

An ambulance at the scene on Tuesday. The elderly man was taken to hospital in an unresponsive state, while the children also received treatment for shock

An ambulance at the scene on Tuesday. The elderly man was taken to hospital in an unresponsive state, while the children also received treatment for shock

An ambulance at the scene of Tuesday's fatal incident. The grandfather had been on holiday with his wife and their daughter, the mother of the two boys

An ambulance at the scene of Tuesday’s fatal incident. The grandfather had been on holiday with his wife and their daughter, the mother of the two boys

Eventually the rescue team were able to free the man's body from the waves and rushed him ashore to a waiting ambulance

Eventually the rescue team were able to free the man’s body from the waves and rushed him ashore to a waiting ambulance

One witness told local broadcaster Crete TV: ‘At least the grandfather managed to see his grandchildren safe on land.’ 

Witnesses heard voices and hurried to help, throwing a rope with a lifebuoy, according to local paper Neakriti.

They described how the grandfather ‘pushed’ the children up the rocks so they could reach the buoy and get to safety.

After seeing his second grandson rescued, Neakriti reports the eldelry man ‘lost his he fell back into the water losing his strength. 

A lifeguard was in the water helping to retrieve the man’s body from the waves.

Heartrending footage shows a man in swimming trunks with a rope in his hand jumping from the coast guard vessel and swimming in the choppy waters.

Eventually the rescue team were able to free the man’s body from the waves and rushed him ashore to a waiting ambulance. 

A witness working nearby who went to help told Cretapost: ‘We were trying to pull him out but the currents were too strong and we couldn’t. With the help of the Coast Guard, the man’s body was eventually retrieved and taken to the boat.’

The children were also taken to hospital in a state of shock but were not reported to have suffered any serious injury. 

The Foreign Office said: ‘We are supporting the family of a British man who died in Crete and are in contact with the Greek authorities.’   



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