Two posthumous honours for man who died saving five-year-old girl who was swept out to sea


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The Independent Online

The man who died saving a five-year-old girl who was swept out to sea has been doubly recognised for his heroism.

Plamen Petkov, who did not make it back to shore as he strove to return the little girl safely to her mother, has been posthumously honoured with the highest civilian award for bravery in his home country Bulgaria. And the Royal National Lifeboat Institution has said it is honoured that his family also set up a fund in its name.

Mr Petkov dove into the sea as the girl, who has not been named, was dragged out on an inflatable. He heard the girl’s mother’s screams for help and swam out to save her. He managed to get her back to shore and passed her to other beachgoers in West Sussex but the 32-year-old was himself dragged under by strong currents.

Explaining their decision to support the RNLI, Petkov’s family said: “Although tragic, we are touched by the fact that Plamen’s heroic act has been so widely and internationally praised. We would like to direct the support of those who have been moved by Plamen’s bravery to the RNLI in their efforts to make Britain’s beaches safer.”

Since being established on 6 June, the fund – where visitors can donate, add a personal tribute or light a virtual candle – has already raised £410 to assist the RNLI’s vital work in saving lives at sea.

Gemma Nightingale, Tribute Funds Coordinator at the RNLI, said: “We are honoured that the family of Plamen Petkov have chosen to remember his life with a Forever by the Sea fund. It is a fitting tribute that this young man’s ultimate generosity of spirit will be reflected in the generosity of those who now visit the site.”