The partner of a British tourist who died when he was struck by lightning while rowing in Rhodes begged him to return to shore when the storm hit.
Scott Seddon’s girlfriend repeatedly shouted “get out” when it became clear that the 26-year-old from Liverpool was struggling in the water at Agathi beach. The woman, who has not been named, was on the ground filming Seddon, a seasoned sportsman, using her mobile phone when the tragedy happened.
“I suddenly heard [her] crying for help,” said Wander Machado, a Brazilian footballer who rushed into the sea to pull the Briton out of the water. “I gave first aid. At some point I saw that he was turning blue. He was trying to breathe,” he told Greece’s Mega TV. “I thought he was coming. The girl was saying his name, he was saying ‘I love you’, ‘I love you’ and, then suddenly, his eyes closed.
The 47-year-old said he immediately realized “how every second counts” when he found Seddon face down in the water.
Emergency services also tried to resuscitate the Briton.
Seddon’s parents had a villa near the beach in Agathi and local media reported that he was a popular figure in the area and respected for his Greek language.
Coastguard officials in Rhodes opened an inquiry that took testimony from beachgoers who witnessed the tragedy. Video footage of the accident captured by Seddon’s distraught partner, they said, could 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 asked as to why no public warning was issued when the typhoon in the area was predicted hours earlier. Rhodes has been hit by bad weather for several days with heavy downpours that severe damage, including leaky roofs, were reported in the departure halls of the island’s international airport, according to local news outlets.
Machado said that before the tragedy he saw lightning around the Briton’s surfboard in the heavy rain. “I turned to a friend,” he said, recalling the moment he first saw the tourist at sea, “and said ‘we have to tell him to get out’.”