Man Who Drowned Near Chichester Named

A man who drowned while trying to rescue a young girl as she was being swept out to sea has been named by police.

Bulgarian national Plamen Petkova, 32, entered the water at West Wittering near Chichester after the five-year-old was being carried away by the tide.

He managed to reach the girl and pass her to a woman who brought her back to her family on the shore at midday on Saturday, Sussex Police said.

But Mr Petkova, of Westmoreland Drive, Sutton, Surrey, failed to reach dry land himself and he was recovered unconscious from the water by others at the scene.

A post-mortem examination at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester confirmed he died from drowning. An inquest has been opened and adjourned, a police spokesman said.

The girl, who has not been named, was on the beach with her family who are from north west London. The woman who was handed the girl in the sea was with a group separate from the child and Mr Petkova.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: ''It is clear that this was a tragic accident, and there is no further police investigation. There will be a coroner's inquest at a later date yet to be set.''

The tragedy happened as the beach was packed with sun-seekers enjoying a mini-heatwave at the weekend, with temperatures in parts of southern England hitting 28C (82.4F).