Non-swimmer drowns trying to save his children

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The Independent Online

A father who could not swim drowned trying to help his children after they got into difficulties while playing at the seaside.

Arvind Puri, 40, from Nottingham, was dragged underwater by a rip current off the Godrevy beach near Hayle in Cornwall on Saturday afternoon. Mr Puri's three children, who are all under 10, were playing on bodyboards in the Red river, which crosses the beach and flows into the sea.

Penwith council's chief lifeguard, Phil Drew, said the Red river area was one of the most dangerous parts of the beach. He added that red flags indicating dangerous bathing conditions were flying at the time of the accident. Mr Drew said: "As Mr Puri went into the water at the Red river at high tide he suffered some kind of seizure and went under the water."

Four lifeguards attended the scene and Mr Puri was rescued within minutes but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Other lifeguards and members of the public helped the three children from the water. The lifeguard who pulled Mr Puri from the water said he had to go after him on a surfboard because of the rip current. "There is a permanent rip at the Red river, and it is worse at high tide, as it was when this happened," he said.

"There is always a red flag flying at the Red river. No one should have been in there."

¿ A holidaymaker was in critical condition in hospital yesterday after falling 100ft down a cliff on Saturday evening. The 35-year-old man, from Cheshire, suffered head, chest and abdominal injuries in the fall, which happened in the St Just area of west Cornwall. He was airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Truro.