The partner of a British tourist who died when he was struck by lightning while paddleboarding off Rhodes had beseeched him to return to shore when the storm hit.
Scott Seddon’s girlfriend repeatedly shouted “come out” when it became clear the 26-year-old from Liverpool was struggling in the waters off Agathi beach. The woman, who has not been named, was on land filming Seddon, an accomplished sportsman, with her mobile phone as the tragedy unfolded.
“I suddenly heard [her] crying for help,” said Wander Machado, a Brazilian footballer who rushed into the sea to pull the Briton from the water. “I administered first aid. At some point I could see him turning blue. He was trying to breathe,” he told Greece’s Mega TV. “I thought he would come to. The girl was saying his name, she was saying ‘I love you’, ‘I love you’ and, then suddenly, his eyes closed.”
The 47-year-old said he instantly realised “how crucial every second was” when he found Seddon face down in the water.
Emergency services also attempted to resuscitate him.
Seddon’s parents own a villa close to the Agathi beach and local media reported that he was a popular figure in the area and respected for his spoken Greek.
Rhodes coastguard officials have opened an inquiry taking testimony from beachgoers who witnessed the tragedy. The video footage of the accident captured by Seddon’s distraught partner will, they say, be crucial to the investigation. Forensic scientists at the island’s general hospital said an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
On Tuesday questions were being asked as to why a public warning had not been issued when the storm in the area had been forecast hours earlier. Rhodes has been hit by bad weather for several days with downpours so heavy that severe damage, including leaky roofs, was reported in the departure halls of the island’s international airport, according to local news outlets.
Machado said prior to the tragedy he could see lightning bolts around the Briton’s surfboard in the belting rain. “I turned to a friend,” he said, recalling the moment he first saw the tourist in the sea, “and said ‘we should tell him to get out’.”