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Doctors drown off coast of Tenerife

Two British doctors have drowned off the coast of Tenerife after reportedly getting into difficulty as they attempted to rescue their two children swept out by a wave.

Uma Ramalingam, 42, and her relative Barathi Ravikumar, 40, were pronounced dead after the tragic incident off the coast of Playa Paraiso on the Canary Island yesterday.

A third woman, 38, survived along with the two children, aged 10 and 14, after being pulled out of the water by rescuers.

Colleagues today paid tribute to Mrs Ramalingam, from Altrincham, Cheshire, and Dr Ravikumar, a partner at the Heath Surgery, Bracebridge Heath, in Lincoln.

Dr Ravikumar, a mother-of-two, was described as "a hard-working and dedicated GP" who "always worked in the best interests of patients".

A statement on her surgery's website said: "During her short time with the practice she was passionate about making a difference to healthcare in Lincolnshire and specialised in working with Looked After Children.

"Dr Ravikumar will be sorely missed and leaves behind a husband and two children."

In a joint statement, Dr Mohammed Zubair Qureshi, Dr Ashfaq Qureshi and Dr Rama Srinivasan, partners at the Heath Practice, added: "It is with great sadness and shock that our practice has learned of the tragic death of Dr Barathi Ravikumar, a hardworking and dedicated GP.

"She always worked in the best interests of patients and was a wonderful colleague and friend for over three years. She will be greatly missed by us and all our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends at this very sad time."

A former colleague of Mrs Ramalingam, who worked as a consultant obstetrician at the Royal Oldham Hospital's women and children's unit, paid tribute to the "fantastic doctor".

Olubusola Amu, consultant and clinical director of Women and Children Services at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We are greatly saddened to hear the death of Uma, who had been working for the trust for about six years.

"She was a fantastic doctor who brought a lot of hope to the high-risk women attending the women and children's unit at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

"This is a terrible shock to everyone who knew Uma. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time. She will be sorely missed."

A Guardia Civil spokeswoman s aid: "It appears that the two women were dragged into the sea by a wave yesterday at around 6pm in Playa Paraiso, Adeje.

"We can confirm that both were British and both were relatives, although we are not certain how they were related at the moment."

A spokeswoman for emergency services on the Canary Islands said: "At just after 6pm yesterday afternoon we received several calls alerting us to two people who were in difficulties in the sea and needed help to get out of the water.

"Witnesses rescued two women and two children from the sea.

"An emergency helicopter located a fifth person in the sea, a woman, and one of the respondents dangled out of the craft and pulled her out.

"After realising that she was in cardiac arrest, respondents gave her basic CPR while they took her to land so she could be attended by healthcare personnel.

"Staff from the Canaries health service, a doctor from a nearby health centre and another doctor who was at the scene found that two women were in cardiac arrest and tried to give them advanced CPR without success.

"They later certified the death of both women. They also helped stabilise the other people, taking a woman and a child to hospital."

The third woman was taken to hospital and treated for water in her lungs but is not believed to be in a critical condition, the spokeswoman said.

The 10-year-old child had low blood sugar and hypothermia. Both are being treated in hospital.

The 14-year-old was treated at the scene for mild bruising, she added.

Both local police and fire brigade assisted in the emergency operation and the Guardia Civil is now investigating the incident, the spokeswoman said.

Mrs Ramalingam registered as a doctor in the UK in February 2003 after graduating from Tamil Nadu Medical University in Chennai, India, in 1994. She registered as a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology in November 2009, according to the General Medical Council.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We can confirm the deaths of two British nationals in Tenerife on April 6.

"We are in touch with the authorities and are providing consular assistance with the families."


From Belfast Telegraph