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Eritrean dies in attempt to save swimmers from drowning in Paradise Bay

A 32-year-old Eritrean national died as he tried to save the lives of two young French students who found themselves in difficulty while swimming in Paradise Bay.

Karl Stagno-Navarra
20 July 2011, 12:00am
The Eritrean - a cleaner at Paradise Bay Hotel - jumped into the rough sea as he noticed the two French youths as they struggled against the waves.

As the Eritrean tried to get the two students to safety, he also found himself in difficulty as the waves pounded him against the rocks.

An Armed Forces helicopter and a patrol boat were deployed to the area and a rescue team managed to pull the French youths out of the water, while the Eritrean was lifted onto the helicopter and immediately taken to Mater Dei Hospital where he was certified dead on arrival.

At 5:35pm, the Paradise Bay Hotel's manager informed the Armed Forces of Malta's Rescue Co-ordination Centre that two swimmers were being observed in obvious difficulty in front of the jetty located nearby.

An AFM Air Wing Alouette rescue-helicopter and the Gozo-based patrol boat were immediately dispatched to the location to assist the two men in difficulty. An ambulance was also positioned on site to provide emergency trauma treatment.

By 6pm, the AFM's rescue-swimmers had located one of the swimmers in difficulty, who was found face downwards in the water. He was immediately winch-hoisted aboard the Alouette helicopter and conveyed to Mater Dei Hospital, where all attempts were made to save his life.

The other male swimmer, a 20-year-old French national, was afterwards also found after an intensive search some 50 minutes later by the Maritime Squadron's patrol boat, rescued, conveyed to land to the awaiting ambulance ,and taken to hospital whilst suffering from severe fatigue. Another 23-year-old Frenchman was also taken by another ambulance, suffering from abrasions.

The Armed Forces said that with the weather blowing a Northwesterly force 6 to 7 wind, inducing a moderate to rough sea, other persons were reported in difficulty much earlier in the afternoon off the coast of Bugibba. Two women onboard air-mattresses were reported to Police headquarters in difficulty whilst out in the water off the Bogner complex.

As AFM surface and air assets were mobilised to the spot, police land units reached the location first and found that the local beach cleaner, Mario Grima, had come to the ladies' assistance already. Grima claimed that they hadn't been the first people to find themselves in similar difficulties that day, the AFM said.

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Peter Paul Coleiro
This is so very very sad and tragic. We need strict regulations and watch-persons at each popular siwimming spot in Malta. Too many such incidents. Far too many, whether ending up in loss of life, like this brave and kind man, or narrow escapes.
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Manuel Cini
@ CE I don't have any agenda! Maybe you do have an agenda, and that's why you misunderstood my comment! There are alot of illegal and irregular things going on in Malta at the moment, and I don't know why you pin point only illegal immigration!!!!!! Do you like to dress in BLACK ??????????????
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Marvin Briffa
I think that a collection of funds for the family of the deceased should be organised. It wil help his family in this hour of need and sorrow.
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Emanuel Aquilina
Are we saying that AFM can't administer basic First Aid on the scene of the accident?
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Emanuel Aquilina
Are we saying that AFM can't administer basic First Aid on the scene of the accident?
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George Muscat
Kellu bzonn ghandna nies f'dan il-pajjiz bhal dan ir-ragel li ya hajyu ghal haddiehor! O' Mulej ghatih il-Mistrieh ta-Dejjem, ghaliex mexa fuq il-passi tieghek. Habb il-proxmu tieghu bhalu innifsu. Dan l-eroj ghandu jibqa imfakkar imqar b'bicca irhama.
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Marouska Bonnici
RIP @Quo vadis. Using someone's death to push your agenda is a bit lame. I agree that everyone should be treated the same though. If any foreigner arrive in this nation in a legal way to tackle certain job shortages then he should be treated with respect whether he is white, black, green, yellow etc. Our nation should have the right to decide how many foreigners it can accept whether these foreigners are white, blue, yellow, brown, black etc.
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justin spiteri
A true hero.
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Manuel Cini
Where are all those people who have got so hatred towards immigrants? I wish each and every one of you have the courage that this man showed! He saved others but unfortunately lost his life! All people should be treated equally, no matter what is the colour of their skin, country or even religion! May he rest in peace. He's done a brave gesture!
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