British woman saved from drowning by off-duty police officer and lifeguard

Lifeguards rescued the woman from the sea on Monday.
Lifeguards rescued the woman from the sea on Monday. / E.C.
  • Francisco Javier Martín and Iván Mérida were both visiting Nerja and ran to help when they heard someone screaming from the sea

A British woman was rescued by an off duty police officer and lifeguard in Nerja on Monday.

The incident happened at around 3.30pm, when 37-year-old National Police officer, Francisco Javier Martín, and 19-year-old Fuengirola lifeguard, Iván Mérida, heard screams coming from the sea.

Martín, who was in Nerja on holiday with his partner and four-year-old daughter, and Mérida, who was on a day trip to Nerja from his home in Malaga, both ran into the sea at El Salón beach to help the woman and alerted a nearby sea-rescue jet-ski. “If we hadn’t heard her screams and gone into the water, she would have drowned,” said the off-duty police officer.

Emergency services had to transport the woman, aged around 50, on a stretcher up the steep steps of El Salón beach, which is near to the Balcón de Europa, to an ambulance which was waiting on nearby Calle Carabeo, where she was given oxygen. The woman was taken to the Hospital Comarcal in Torre del Mar where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Sources said that the woman had decided to swim from Calahonda beach, where she had gone with her family, towards Carabeo beach. However, she started to feel ill as she got to the El Salón beach area and was unable to swim to the shore. She was about 150 metres from the water’s edge when she took ill, believed to have been caused by high blood-sugar levels.

Francisco Javier Martín tried to visit the lady in hospital before returning to his home in Valencia, but was unable to as she was still in intensive care.

“It is the first time in my life that I have had to save someone from drowning,” said the officer, who has been working for the National Police force for six years.