Plamen Petkov: The Bulgarian immigrant who died a British hero's death
Tributes to 'special' man who drowned saving a five-year-old girl from the sea
The family of a man who died saving the life of a five-year-old girl who had been swept out to sea have described their immense pride and said they welcomed calls for him to be given a posthumous honour for bravery.
Plamen Petkov, 32, failed to make it back to shore after he raced into the water from the crowded beach in West Wittering, West Sussex, on Saturday.
He was walking with his girlfriend when he heard a mother crying for someone to help her daughter who had been dragged out to sea on an inflatable rubber ring.
Witnesses said Mr Petkov, who had recently moved in with his girlfriend in Sutton, Surrey, dived into the water "without second thoughts". When he reached the girl, she jumped into his arms and he began to swim back towards the shore, holding her head above the waves. But Mr Petkov himself was being dragged under.
The child, who has not been named, was taken safely back to shore as a friend tried to help Mr Petkov. He suffered a suspected heart attack and beachgoers administered CPR for 40 minutes before an air ambulance arrived but he could not be saved. Family members said they were "incredibly sad to have lost such a special person" but said they are "immensely proud that Plamen was able to save the life of this young child".
In a statement, they said: "His display of concern for others was typical of the man we all knew and the way he lived his life.
"We are grateful for the messages of support from everyone Plamen came into contact with both in and out of work. He leaves a huge gap in our lives and will be missed by us all."
They thanked the people who helped on the beach and those who have left "kind comments" about Mr Petkov, a British citizen of Bulgarian descent, adding: "In response to the many people who have been moved by his brave act, the family would like to release his name and picture to be commemorated. We also appreciate suggestions to award Plamen with a posthumous honour for his actions."
The family called for extra safety measures to be put in place. They told his local paper, the Sutton Guardian, that they wanted to stress their concern about dangerous waters in the UK, and called for extra safety measures including lifeguards.
Mr Petkov's colleagues at Vulcan Building Services called the electrician a "thoughtful and caring man". They said he was "an extremely conscientious and hardworking person who was universally liked and respected by both his workmates and clients alike".
- 1 Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Howard 'Mr Nice' Marks reveals he has inoperable cancer: 'I've had an incredible life'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company mission is to be th...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Tester is required t...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have a vacancy within our ra...