Father Dies Trying to Save Daughters Dragged Out to Sea in Vacation Tragedy

A 45-year-old father on vacation with his family was reported to have drowned while attempting to save his two young daughters on Calada beach, just outside the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

Portugal's Correio da Manhã identified the father as Trevor Pelling, a U.K. national working as a financial consultant in Dubai.

The father was dragged out of the water by surfers at around 2:30 p.m. local time on Thursday.

He was reported to have gone into the water to keep his daughters, aged 9 and 12, from being swept away.

The children were reported to have faced trouble in a strong current while swimming at the beach in Mafra, just north of Ericeira, a town on the west coast of Portugal.

The beach—which was unsupervised at the time of the incident—was expected to have lifeguards on duty from June 12 for the summer season.

CM Portugal reported Pelling had already suffered cardiac arrest when he was pulled out from the ocean.

The man was pronounced dead on the beach, despite the rescue efforts of a nurse who happened to be sunbathing on the beach at the time.

The Portugal Resident reported the nurse spent 50 minutes performing CPR in a bid to save his life.

Accompanied by their mother, the children—who were reported to have suffered minor injuries—were transported by ambulance to Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon, located about an hour's drive from the beach.

A spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign Office told Sky News, a U.K. news channel: "We are providing support to the family of a British man who has sadly drowned in Portugal. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

According to The Portugal Resident, two emergency reanimation vehicles from Portugal's INEM (Integrated Medical Emergency System), as well as Mafra and Ericeira firefighters supported by seven vehicles were also reported to be at the scene.

The rescue efforts of paramedics were further hampered by the lack of cell phone reception in the area, according to Cascais port captain Paulo Agostinho.

Agostinho warned travelers should "avoid going to beaches without surveillance at all.

"Drowning kills in seconds and on unguarded beaches there are no permanent means of rescue."

"At Calada beach there isn't even a GSM [cell phone] network and it was necessary to use radios," Agostinho added.

Surrounded by tall cliffs and sprawling with open sands, Calada beach is a popular spot for surfing and other watersports.

A beach in Cascais, Portugal in 2021.
Beachgoers seen in May in Cascais, a municipality of Portugal's Lisbon district. A 45-year-old father drowned Thursday while attempting to save his two daughters on Calada beach, just outside Lisbon. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images