Mid Wales

Father dies on Italian beach after saving daughter

Simon Pearson and wife Helen Image copyright Shropshire Star
Image caption Simon Pearson and his wife Emma Jane

Tributes have been paid to a businessman who is reported to have drowned trying to save his daughter while on holiday.

Simon Pearson, 47, from Church Stoke, Powys died at the Bosco Verde beach in Ostuni, southern Italy on Tuesday.

He was the managing director of a building materials firm in Shropshire.

Reports in the Italian media say Mr Pearson and an Italian man went to help the girl but died after being swept out in strong currents.

The Italian man was named as beach worker Martino Maggi, 49.

Mr Pearson's 11-year-old daughter had been playing in the sea with her grandfather when they got into difficulty.

They were eventually brought to safety.

Mr Pearson and Mr Maggi were both rescued alive but died shortly afterwards despite attempts to save them.

Image copyright Ostuni Notizie
Image caption There were strong currents in the sea when the incident happened.

Mr Pearson's wife Emma Jane told the Shropshire Star newspaper: "Simon held on to my daughter's hand to keep her afloat but he became unconscious. I have two young children who have lost their dad. We are all traumatised.

"My husband worked hard all his life to provide for his family and he has now given his life to save our daughter."

Richard Sheehan, chief executive of the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce said: "He was very active with our international trade team as he expanded his business around the world.

"It was clear that Simon was very focused on employment in and around the area, putting something back into the community.

"We feel like someone has been taken away from us and our thoughts go to his family and employees."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Puglia. Our staff are in contact with Italian authorities."

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