Couple drown after ignoring red flag on beach in Alicante

A man and a woman drowned on Wednesday at a beach on the Costa Blanca after ignoring a red flag and bathing in choppy seas.

Couple drown after ignoring red flag on beach in Alicante
Red flag means no swimming. Photo: AFP

The couple, a 48 year-old man and his 39 year-old partner from Alguazas, Murcia, drowned after taking an early morning dip at Els Tossals beach in Guardamar del Segura.

The beach, which is described on the council website as, free from construction and “one of the quietest in the area”, had a red flag flying from its mast – prohibiting bathers from swimming because of dangerous seas.

The 1,6km stretch of sandy beach had no lifeguards on duty at the time the incident happened, about 10am.

The couple, who were regulars in the area and frequent visitors to a nearby campsite, ignored the warning, leaving behind their two children, aged 11 and 16, and a nephew went they went for a swim.

The Red Cross said that they had to carry out 27 rescues on red flagged beaches in that municipality on Wednesday alone and urged beachgoers to respect the flag system.

Green means it is safe to swim, yellow means don’t swim out of your depth and red prohibits swimming entirely. In some regions, including Valencia, bathers can be fined for ignoring red flags.

According to data published last week by the National Lifeguard Agency (RFSS), 246 people have drowned in Spain so far this year.

READ MORE: More than 400 people drown each year in Spain


Teenager dies snorkelling after venomous fish encounter off Costa Brava beach

A 16-year-old was killed while snorkelling off Platja d’Aro in Catalonia after an encounter with a venomous weever fish.

Teenager dies snorkelling after venomous fish encounter off Costa Brava beach
Stock photo: District47/Flickr

The boy, who has not been publically named, suffered anaphylactic shock and died on Saturday afternoon while on a family trip to the beach.

His parents raised the alarm after he disappeared while snorkelling and he was found unconscious nearby by bathers and brought to shore.

Initial post-mortem results show the teenager had a tiny wound on his neck, above his windpipe, and scratches on his face.

His parents told local media that he had been filming marine life with a waterproof camera and that footage retrieved by investigators suggested he had been stung by a weever fish.

“He had been following a jellyfish about 100 metres offshore which led him to a strange and colourful fish with a harmless-looking face,” according to a statement from the parents quoted in La Vanguardia.

“He was only able to film it for 30 seconds from a distance and at the last second it disappeared and stung him around the jaw area.”

A post-mortem has been carried out in nearby Girona where forensic staff are awaiting toxicology results.

The fish has been identified locally as a spotted weever (rachinus araneusa) a species that carries venom in its dorsal spines and buries itself in sand on the seabed.

Photo by Roberto Pillon/creative commons/

They are usually hard to spot and have been known to deliver painful stings to swimmers feet who unknowingly step in them when paddling in shallow water.

But although they can provoke a severe allergic reaction and in rare cases provoke heart attacks such stings rarely prove fatal because those who step on them can usually reach the safety of the shore before drowning.