Greece lifeguard warning over holidaymaker's death

Couple sunbathing on Crete beach
Crete, which is popular with holidaymakers, must improve its beach safety, a UK coroner says [BBC]

A Cheshire holidaymaker drowned in "rough" sea conditions with no lifeguards on duty at a Greek island's beach, a coroner has said.

Jacqueline Devonish has written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) asking it to contact the Greek authorities over the death of Andrew Story, 56, from Frodsham.

She said the beach and sea in Rethymno, Crete, were "particularly unsafe" for swimming during tourist season with no red markers or flags and she warned that action must be taken to prevent future deaths.

The BBC has contacted both the FCO and Greek Government for a comment.

Ms Devonish, senior coroner for Cheshire, concluded at an inquest in June that Mr Story's death in the holiday destination on 12 October was an accident.

She has since produced a report to prevent future deaths highlighting the lack of lifeguard cover after 31 August in Rethymno.

Ms Devonish has set out her concerns about the case.

'No signs'

She wrote: "It was understood that the Greek coroner had informed bereaved family members that the sea was particularly rough in Rethymno, Crete and had no lifeguards on duty between 31 August and the end of the summer season.

"This coincided with tourist season making the use of that beach and sea for swimming generally, and particularly unsafe in the absence of red warning markers, signs or flags."

Mr Story went swimming in the sea and was only in the water a matter of minutes when a bystander was seen trying to revive him on the beach, the inquest heard.

A post-mortem examination in Greece offered a cause of death as drowning in sea water.

In the UK, the second post-mortem examination concurred over the drowning but also identified an enlarged heart chamber.

Mr Story was taken away by ambulance but confirmed dead a short time later.

The Greek authorities have 56 days to respond to the prevention of future deaths report.

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