Stuart Calder, a 52-year-old knee surgeon from Leeds, died along with a 44-year-old man and 42-year-old woman, both from St Austell in Cornwall, after they got into trouble at Cornish beauty spot Mawgan Porth near Newquay.
It is feared the trio may have been trying to rescue four teenagers who got into difficulty in the ‘six foot waves’ during a half-term holiday adventure that went tragically wrong.
The RNLI said today that there were no lifeguards patrolling the beach yesterday afternoon when the tragedy occurred because it is outside ‘peak season’.
It is thought Mr Calder, a father of four who worked at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and who owned his own private practice, was surfing at the beauty spot with his teenage son when they got into difficulty.
The orthopaedic surgeon, who has had numerous research papers published, was on holiday in the county with his family. It is believed his wife watched the tragedy unfold from the shore.
A Royal Navy helicopter and two air ambulances landed on the beach and rescuers pulled the seven surfers from the sea shortly after 1pm yesterday afternoon.
The four teenagers, aged 18, 16 and 15 and described as ‘walking wounded’, were seen crying as paramedics made desperate efforts to resuscitate the adults. But they were unable to save Mr Calder and the other man and woman, who were later pronounced dead in hospital.
The other victims have not yet been formally identified.
“Scarlet – Mawgan Porth” by www.flickr.com/photos/mrandybudd, license: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0 – 28/10/2014