Drowned rescuer is identified by police

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POLICE have named a man who died rescuing a little girl from the sea at West Wittering.

Plamen Petkova, of Westmoreland Drive, Sutton, Surrey, managed to pluck the five-year-old, who had been carried away by the tide, from danger and pass her to a woman to take back to the shore to her waiting mother.

Tragically the Bulgarian national was not able to make it back himself and members of the public dragged him out of the water unconscious.

Medics spent 40 minutes trying to resuscitate him but the 32-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene at lunchtime on Saturday.

A post-mortem held yesterday at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, found the cause of death to be drowning, and an inquest has been formally opened and adjourned.

The girl was on the beach with her family, who are from North West London.

The woman who helped with the rescue was from Guildford and with a family group separate from those of Mr Petkova and the child.

A Sussex Police spokesman said the matter was being treated as a tragic accident.