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West Wittering Tragedy: Plamen Petkov Named As Hero Who Died Trying To Rescue Young Girl

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WEST WITTERING
File photo of West Wittering beach | WikiMedia

A man who drowned while trying to rescue a young girl as she was being swept out to sea has been named by police.

Bulgarian national Plamen Petkov, 32, entered the water at West Wittering, West Sussex, after the five-year-old was being carried away by the tide.

He managed to reach the girl and pass her to a woman who brought her back to her family on the shore at midday on Saturday, Sussex Police said.

But Mr Petkov, of Westmoreland Drive, Sutton, Surrey, failed to reach dry land himself and he was recovered unconscious from the water by others at the scene.

A Solent Coastguard spokesman said on Saturday: "A man was pulled from the water on the West Wittering estate after he had tried to help two children.

"Their mother was understandably upset that this man had had this accident when he had tried to help them."

A post-mortem examination today at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester confirmed he died from drowning. An inquest has been opened and adjourned, a police spokesman said.

The girl, who has not been named, was on the beach with her family who are from north west London. The woman who was handed the girl in the sea was with a group separate from the child and Mr Petkov.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "It is clear that this was a tragic accident, and there is no further police investigation. There will be a coroner's inquest at a later date yet to be set."

The tragedy happened as the beach was packed with sun-seekers enjoying a mini-heatwave at the weekend, with temperatures in parts of southern England hitting 28C (82.4F).

News of Mr Petkov's drowning came after the death of 23-year-old Nicholas Smith, who was pulled from the water in Linn Park near Simshill on the south side of Glasgow, and died later in hospital.

In a further incident, a 22-year-old man died after getting into difficulty while swimming with friends at a disused quarry at Ballykelly, near Monasterevin, Co Kildare, Ireland.

His body was recovered by the Garda Sub Aqua Unit on Sunday evening.

Also on Sunday, 15-year-old Thomas Barton drowned in a reservoir in Chorley, Lancashire.

The tragedies followed the death of a 15-year-old boy who drowned when he jumped from a bridge into the River Thames in Oxford on Friday night.

The body of Hussain Mohammed was not recovered for two hours after he was seen plunging into the water.

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Correction: The man who rescued the children was initially named as Plamen Petkova. This has now been amended.

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