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Lifeguards ignored drowning tourist 'for not waving enough'

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Lifeguards ignored drowning tourist 'for not waving enough'
Authorities claimed the red flag was flying at the time. Photo: AFP
11:59 CEST+02:00
A British woman drowned off a Costa Blanca beach after lifeguards ignored her because "she wasn’t waving hard enough", an inquest heard.

Julie Dudhill, 57, drowned off La Glea beach in Orihuela Costa south of Alicante on June 27th after going for a swim with her husband Andy.

The hearbroken husband told an inquest on Tuesday that his wife had been 'overcome' by waves and struggled to reach the shore so he sought the help of lifeguards.

Mr Dudhill, 51, said: "I turned around and literally she was just behind me as we were getting out but in that short space of time afterwards, she had difficulties getting back to shore and she said to me she was having difficulties."

Mr Dudhill said he had rushed to seek the help of lifeguards but they "didn’t react and stayed on the shore".

He said that they had "suggested that if she was having difficulties she would be waving her arms about more".

Mr Dudhill described how he then approched two more lifeguards and they too told him they did not believe his wife was in danger,

He told Basignstoke Coroner’s Court in Hampshire that after his pleas for help fell on deaf ears he set out to rescue her himself, which he said prompted one of the lifeguards to take a "leisurely swim out to her".

"Then the next thing I know, the lifeguard is saying she needs oxygen, but by the time they brought her back I just knew it was too late."

Mr Dudhill told the court: "It’s dreadful from the lifeguards, especially on a crowded beach."

Andrew Bradley, the coroner, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

At the time of the drowning council authorities said the red flag had been flying on the beach which means bathers are prohibited from swimming. 

A total of 321 people drowned in Spain up until the end of August, with 86 percent of those occurring in zones where there were no life guards on duty, according to figures released by the Spain’s national life-saving federation.  

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