A BRITISH holidaymaker has been killed after being hit by a strong Atlantic wave while swimming on a beach in the Landes.
The 36-year-old, who has been named as Rob Walton, a rugby coach from Hinckley in Leicestershire, suffered fatal whiplash on Monday when a powerful "shore break" struck his spine.
He was holidaying at a campsite in Labenne, Landes, with his wife and four children.
Parademics spent about an hour trying to resuscitate him, after they were called to the popular surfing spot at about 14.00 yesterday.
A fellow swimmer raised the alarm. The beach was manned by lifeguards and local witnesses say the sea conditions were not particularly hazardous.
The UK Foreign Office said in a statement: "We can confirm the death of a British national in France on 10 August. We are in contact with the family to offer support at this difficult time."
Lifeguards on the Atlantic coast intervene about 20 times a day to treat victims of "shore break" - a strong wave close to the shore that can project a swimmer down to the ground with force, causing injuries to the spine, shoulders or knees.
The Gironde préfecture has handed out 100,000 flyers this summer to raise awareness of the dangers.
Across France, 275 bathers have been rescued from the sea in just two months - and 109 people died from drowning.