Father drowns at beauty spot trying to save son and friend

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The Independent Online

A father aged 43 has drowned trying to rescue his son and another boy from the sea off Norfolk. Police said Ivan Fisher, from Stalham, Norfolk, went into the water at the beauty spot of Sea Palling, between Cromer and Hemsby, on Saturday evening after one of the boys shrimping by rocks got into difficulties.

The boys, aged about 10, were out of their depth when they were rescued by kayakers in an area of sea marked off by buoys for swimming and paddling. They had been shrimping with nets near sea defence reefs 50 yards offshore, a spokesman for Yarmouth coastguards said.

Mr Fisher, who was believed to be unable to swim, had been seen going to help the boys but the kayakers said they lost sight of him. An hour later he was spotted by a rescue helicopter as he clung to a buoy rope about 12ft from the beach, and 100 yards from where the boys were found. He was unconscious and underwater when he was recovered by Happisburgh lifeboat. He died on arrival at hospital.

Police said Mr Fisher's son had been returned home in Stalham and the other boy to Happisburgh. Friends of Mr Fisher, a crop-sprayer, said he was a well-known man, fond of shooting, darts and angling.

The popular beach had been busy, with hundreds of families enjoying the hot weather. Coastguards were alerted to the trouble by a snack-bar owner at Sea Palling who realised the boys were safe but their father was missing.

Brian Applegate, a lifeboat member from the Palling In-Shore Rescue Service, said the beach was generally considered safe. "I should think [Mr Fisher] may have got into difficulty at the turn in the tide because it was around high water when he was reported missing."

Graham Deary, 54, who runs a jet-ski company, went out with a jet-ski to try to find the man. He said: "We are often rescuing swimmers. Anyone else would do the same thing. It's a tragedy really. No water is safe unless you are wearing the right equipment. Unfortunately, people do take water for granted."