Belfast Telegraph

Man from Northern Ireland drowns while swimming in Lake Garda

By Claire Williamson

A 37-year-old man, originally from Northern Ireland, has drowned while swimming in Lake Garda.

Gary Wood was on holiday in San Felice del Benaco with his family.

Mr Wood is reported to have been from Northern Ireland but living in Leytonstone in east London.

The tragedy happened when he was attempting a one-mile swim out to the Italian island of Isola dei Conigle along with his mother, wife, sister and brother-in-law.

The Times reports that a strong wind generated waves as high as 6ft as they were undertaking the swim.

Pierluigi Mazzardi, a volunteer in the rescue bid said: "Even though the lake is small, the waves bounce off the shores, creating rough conditions."

A coastguard official who did not wish to be named said the family were good swimmers but that people are advised not to swim out more than 160 yards from the shore.

Mr Wood's mother and wife turned back to shore after 160 yards but as the rest continued towards the island they realised Mr Wood was in difficulty.

The official told The Times: "About 550 yards from the island, the sister saw her brother had stopped.

"She and her husband, both doctors, went to help him, but he had suffered an ailment, possibly a heart attack."

His sister and brother-in-law tried to rescue him while they were in the water but were forced to swim to safety themselves after they tried to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The official said: "After arriving at the island they hitched a ride back to the shore on a tourist's boat and raised the alarm.

"When we got to them they were with the mother and the man's wife and you can imagine how traumatised they were."

He was later recovered from the bottom of the lake by a remote-controlled submarine.

The family are being supported by The Foreign Office.

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