Four dead in beach horror; HOLIDAY TRAGEDY: Parents drown trying to save children.
THREE British parents drowned and a German died of a heart attack amid a desperate attempt to rescue their children when they got into difficulties off a Portuguese beach.
Bob and Debbie Fry are reported to have rushed into the ocean at Praia do Tonel after their children, George and Rose, had got into trouble while playing with a German youngster.
When the couple, from Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, were dragged out into the sea their friend Jean Dinsmore also waded into the waves to try to rescue the children. All three were swept away from the sandy cove at the most south-westerly point of Europe.
Meanwhile, the father of the German youngster rescued his child while another man rescued George, aged nine, and Rose, 11.
The German man died of a heart attack after reaching the beach.
The coastguard last night recovered the bodies of the three British holidaymakers as Iselda Gomes, the civil governor of the Algarve, described their deaths as one of the biggest tragedies to have hit the region.
Ms Gomes, who was with the rescued children at the hospital, said: "The children were playing in the sea and they called for help. Some of the parents went to help them and they got into difficulties.
"Bob and Debbie went into the sea to try to help their children but the waves were too much for them. Jean saw that they were in difficulty and she went in to help.
"The German father rescued his child and got back to the beach but then his heart stopped. The English children were rescued by another man who was on the beach."
Mrs Dinsmore's husband, Roy, and their two children were being offered assistance by the British Consul from Portugal.
George, Rose and the German youngster were in the Hospital do Barlavento Algarvio being treated for shock and hypothermia.
The British families were staying at the exclusive golf resort of Parque de Floresta, near Sagres.
The Portuguese authorities had mounted a large-scale rescue operation.
Commander Marques Pereira, of the Guarda Nacional Republicana, said: "The adults jumped into the water to save the children. Some got out alive but unfortunately some of the others drowned."
HOLS DISASTER... emergency services at Praia do Tonel where three parents drowned and one died of a heart attack.