Fran Murphy meets her mystery lifesaver Ian Hullin

Ian Hullin says he was surprised to see the appeal to find him on the television

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A Cardiff holidaymaker has been reunited with the mystery man who saved her from drowning off a French beach.

Fran Murphy, 52, was paddling with friends on a sandbank at a resort near Perpignan when it collapsed, leaving her unconscious.

The group was saved by a man from Swansea, and Ms Murphy appealed on BBC Wales for help to try and trace him.

Now, she has met Ian Hullin and said it felt "wonderful" to be able to thank him for saving her life.

Start Quote

He just came back and casually said that he'd saved some women, and then he just sat down”

End Quote Lucy Ross Ian Hullin's girlfriend

Ms Murphy, a Cardiff librarian, was with three colleagues when the incident happened earlier this month.

She was left unconscious and the group was unable to get ashore because of a rip current.

They were saved by a mystery man who got them ashore and then "disappeared".

Ms Murphy said her lungs were 80% full of water and she remained in hospital for over a week, with two days in intensive care.

She did not remember her rescuer but her friends believed he was from Swansea.

Fran Murphy This picture of Fran Murphy was taken just before the incident

They said he joked that if he had known they were from Cardiff he would have "left them" in the water.

Ms Murphy had said she just wanted to thank him for the "amazing thing" he had done.

On Thursday Ms Murphy, her friends and Mr Hullin were finally reunited at her Cardiff home, and BBC Wales filmed the meeting.

She told him: "I'm just so glad that we managed to track you down so that we could just say thank you.

"You were just a mystery man to us at the time. We called you Mr Swansea.

"What you did was absolutely amazing. It might not be anything to you, but it meant a lot to us."

Mr Hullin said he was "really glad I could help", and told Ms Murphy: "You look better than the last time."

'Absolutely ecstatic'

He also said his mother, from Cardiff, was "not happy" at his joke about leaving them if he had known where they were from.

He said he had made the joke while trying to reach shore with the second group of friends and was "running out of banter".

Ian Hullin Mr Hullin said he is 'just glad she's okay'

Ms Murphy said she was "absolutely ecstatic" to meet Mr Hullin, adding: "We're very grateful to the BBC. I don't think we would have found him otherwise."

Mr Hullin, who works in the protection of vessels as they pass Somalia, came forward after a friend of his partner's saw the story on BBC Wales Today.

His partner, Lucy Ross, said she had been having a "lovely sunbathe" when she noticed Mr Hullin had gone.

She assumed he had gone for a long swim, but said: "He just came back and casually said that he'd saved some women and then he just sat down."

She said her partner then "casually got on with his book".

For more on this story, see BBC Wales Today, BBC One Wales, at 18:30 BST on Thursday.

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