Mallorca holiday tragedy as man dies trying to save drowning son

Father and son, 7, killed by dangerous seas after boy is swept away on 'red flag' beach in Mallorca

A British holidaymaker drowned alongside his son off the coast of Mallorca after diving into rough seas to save his seven-year-old boy despite being unable to swim himself, it was revealed last night.

George Selby, 27, had been taking pictures of his son Louis as he paddled around rocks in a deserted cove near Calas de Mallorca when the little boy was swept out to sea by a large wave.

With his wife Abigail and her two older boys Mitchell, 14, and Dylan, 12, watching, Mr Selby dived into crashing waves to try and save his son but was quickly in trouble, shouting for help and waving his arms in the air.

Last night a close friend, Graham Klerks, 31, paid tribute to a "kind and generous" man and a little boy who was just like his father.

The family, on their first holiday abroad, had only arrived on the Balearic island the previous day. On Saturday they were in the Cala Antena cove, where a red flag was flying to warn bathers away from the waters.

"It is a terrible tragedy. It appears the young boy was swept from the rocks by a large wave, and the dad naturally dived in to try to save him," said a police source. "The sea was ferocious with very strong waves crashing onto the rocks."

Locals said Mrs Selby ran to get help from lifeguards at a nearby hotel but the pair were beyond saving.

"George going out into the sea to rescue Louis is him down to a tee. The tragic thing is that George could not swim but I honestly can't imagine him standing by the side and watching his son drown," Mr Klerks said last night. "It's so tragic. George had been stressing about going abroad for the first time."

Mr Selby, an assistant manager at a store in Romford, lived in nearby Hornchurch, Essex, with his wife, a pub barmaid. The couple, who married last year, were said to be on holiday with Mrs Selby's two older sons and her niece Olivia. Mr Klerks said members of the family had travelled out to comfort the mother: "She is holding it together for the kids as best she can."

The accident comes less than a fortnight after five-year-old Lara Lewis and her grandfather Brian O'Dwyer, 66, drowned after being swept into the sea near Nazare in Portugal.

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