Female holidaymaker dies after being swept out to sea at Devon surfing hotspot

  • Victim had been visiting Croyde Bay in north Devon with family, say police
  • Swept out to sea after getting into difficulty while 'swimming or surfing'
  • Surfing hotspot has seen waves of up to three and a half metres today
  • It is the latest in a series of tragedies over Christmas and New Year period

By Sophie Jane Evans

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A female holidaymaker has died after being swept out to sea at a popular surfing hotspot.

The unnamed woman had been been visiting Croyde Bay in north Devon with her family today when the tragedy happened, say police.

She got into difficulty while 'swimming or surfing', before being overcome by stormy seas and three-and-a-half metre waves.

Tragic: A female holidaymaker has died today after being swept out to sea at Croyde Bay (pictured) in Devon

Tragic: A female holidaymaker has died today after being swept out to sea at Croyde Bay (pictured) in Devon

Coastguard crews were alerted at 11.20am and were shortly joined by police and a helicopter.

They pulled the woman out of the water an hour and a half later, before airlifting her to hospital, where she sadly died.

 

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: 'Despite search attempts by helicopter and lifeboat crews, she could not be found until she was removed from the water at around 1pm.

'She was airlifted to North Devon District Hospital where attempts to revive her were sadly unsuccessful.

Death: The unnamed woman is believed to have been visiting the region with her family. She was located by coastguard crews at around 1pm and airlifted to North Devon District Hospital (pictured), where she sadly died

Death: The unnamed woman is believed to have been visiting the region with her family. She was located by coastguard crews at around 1pm and airlifted to North Devon District Hospital (pictured), where she sadly died

'The woman's next-of-kin have been made aware.'

The victim had been holidaying in the region with relatives when she decided to go into the sea, said the spokesman.

She is believed to have either swam or surfed in the stormy water, before getting into trouble.

The beach - which attracts amateur and professional surfers from across the country - has seen waves reaching up to three-and-a-half metres today, according to coastal forecasting website MagicSeaweed.com.

Popular: Croyde Bay (pictured) is a well-known tourist hotspot - attracting surfers from across the country

Popular: Croyde Bay (pictured) is a well-known tourist hotspot - attracting surfers from across the country

This afternoon, Brixham coastguard Fiona Iris warned holidaymakers to 'take care' during poor weather conditions.

'The water is very rough so please take care when taking part in popular watersports like surfing and windsurfing,' she said. 'Have a safe New Year.'

Sad: Nick Mutton drowned on Christmas Eve while trying to rescue his dog in Newton Abbott, Devon

Sad: Nick Mutton drowned on Christmas Eve while trying to rescue his dog in Newton Abbott, Devon

It is the latest in a series of tragedies to have happened over the Christmas and New Year period.

On Christmas Eve, a father of two died after heading into a river to rescue his Labrador while his family were shopping.

Primary school teacher Nick Mutton, 46, was with his family at an Asda in Newton Abbot, Devon, getting last-minute supplies for Christmas, when his dog ventured into the river near to the store.

He dived into the freezing water in a bid to save his pet, but soon got into difficulty.

Three police officers and several firefighters managed to drag him from the water, before taking him to hospital, where he later died.

At the time, resident Martin Bignel tweeted that the river, which runs at the end of his road, had been 'about 7ft higher than usual' following stormy weather and persistent rainfall.

And on Christmas day, a father and son died after trying out new diving equipment they had received as presents for Christmas.

Darrin Spivey, 35, and Dillon Sanchez, 15, from Florida, had been attempting to descend into the 300-foot Eagles Nest Sink - described as the 'Grand Canyon' and 'Mount Everest' of diving - at around 11am on Christmas morning.

They were reported missing by Mr Spivey's fiancee after she found their car still parked at the cave hours later.

Recovery divers later found both of their bodies in the main cavern area.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Commenters seem to have experience of Croyde on a hot August day. Even then it can be dangerous and there are lifeguards on. Here we are talking mid winter with some of the worst weather ever and waves of 3 and a half metres! Slightly different.

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My deepest condolences go the his family and friends for their loss. May he R.I.P. Bless you.

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I've surfed at Croyde a number of times and I hope this doesn't cause this beautiful village/beach any loss of tourism as it's a fantastic place. Accidents happen and my thoughts are with her family.

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Swimming in winter?

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How very sad, it was noted that the tide here in Devon has been stronger than usual due to the storms. Which may be attributed to the tragedy. Though what the father & son from America has to do with the article, I don't know!

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Swum many times at Croyde and Woolacombe. Both great places but with care. Tragic.

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RIP

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Another wasted life at a fabulous surfing venue but with a seriously dangerous rip that may not be widely known to visitors.

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I saw the SAR helicopter rushing to North Devon Hospital at lunch time and just knew that there was a serious incident. Locals know how to read the sea conditions, it's a great pity holiday makers don't seem to know the danger signs.

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Trouble with Croyde is not just reading the conditions, you need to know how to deal with the rip tide as well. Same with a few of the North Devon and North Cornwall beaches.

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One of my favourite surf beaches. Condolences to the family and friends.

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