Hero British father-of-two is missing feared drowned after diving into Italian lake to save his 14-year-old son on holiday
- Unnamed father leapt into Lake Garda, northern Italy to save his 14-year-old son
- He was able to rescue the boy before slipping below the surface yesterday night
- Hours-long search sees family, including daughter, 5, wait anxiously for news
- Officials believe the man may have had a thermal shock seizure in the cold lake
- Rest of family now in hotel and offered psychologist’s help, coastguard confirms
A hero British father of two is missing feared drowned after jumping into an Italian lake to save his son.
The unnamed man – said to be a company director – bravely leapt into the water after his 14-year-old son got into difficulty as he swam close to a boat they had hired for the day.
He was able to rescue the teenager and push him back towards the speedboat, where his relieved mother managed to drag him onboard and to safety.
But as she looked for her 51-year-old husband, she was horrified to see him struggling in the water and saw him slip below the surface at Lake Garda, northern Italy.
The woman’s screams for help alerted other boats and a coastguard unit, with other vessels racing to the scene by the lakeside town of Limone.
The man’s family are anxiously awaiting news at a hotel on the banks of Lake Garda (file image)
Limone sul Garda, a picturesque lakeside town in northern Italy, was the scene of the accident
Rescue efforts went on late into Friday night as the woman, the 14-year-old and a five-year-old daughter waited anxiously for news on the shoreline.
The man – who celebrates his birthday next Tuesday – was staying with his family at the nearby four star Hotel du Lac et Du Parc at Riva del Garda.
Known for its picturesque setting with dramatic mountains tumbling into the crystal clear lake, the area is a magnet for British holidaymakers and former PM Theresa May, who is a regular visitor and currently staying close by.
The man and his family handed over his driving licence and hired the small boat for the day from a local firm and this morning searches of the lake resumes at first light.
Known for its stunning setting and plunging cliffs, the area is a magnet for British holidayers
It is feared he will be the third drowning at Lake Garda in a week. It comes after two men aged 36 and 41 died in separate incidents.
An eyewitness told local media: ‘We were about 100m from the shore when we heard a woman screaming for help.
‘I looked over and she was on a boat with two children shouting and pointing to the water so we called the emergency services and they were there very quickly.’
Temperatures at the time of the incident on Friday afternoon were around 38C but the water was considerably colder and officials believe the man may have had a thermal shock seizure.
As well as coastguard units, a firefighting boat and several volunteer vessels were used in the search. A helicopter also scanned the water, which reaches a maximum depth of 300 metres.
Temperatures on Friday afternoon were around 38C but the water was considerably colder
A robot camera which can scour the bed of the lake was also brought in and a specialist team of divers deployed.
A coastguard spokesman said: ‘The family has rented a boat from a local company for two and a half hours and were due to return it a little before the accident.
‘The man dived in to save his eldest child who was in difficulty and he managed to push him back towards the boat but he then got into trouble.
‘It was very hot on Friday afternoon but the water was a good ten degrees colder so it’s possible he could have had a seizure due to the thermal shock.
‘The search went on for almost seven hours and stopped when it got dark but has now resumed. The family are in their hotel with police and a psychologist has been offered to them for support.’
In July 2017 Londoner Gary Wood drowned in Lake Garda as he tried to swim to an island off the shore, while in 1998 headmaster Richard Harris, 50, and his two sons Timothy, 13, and Luke, six, died after their boat sank in a sudden freak storm.
Hero British father-of-two is missing feared drowned after diving into Italian lake to save son, 14