Three family members die after being swept away by wave in Brittany

Two adults and one of their children, aged 12, were walking by the sea after a family fishing trip when the tragedy happened. Their three other children were with them but unharmed

A huge wave in Finistère, Brittany
Waves in Brittany can swell unexpectedly even in otherwise-calm conditions
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Three people from the same family have died after being washed away by a wave in Finistère in an accident reported yesterday evening.

Six members of the family were walking on the Plogoff breakwater near Pointe du Raz, when three of them, the parents and a 12-year-old child, were taken away by a wave swell.

The man, 55, and the woman, 33, were walking with their four children when the accident took place at 18:40. The Atlantic maritime prefecture later said that they had been fishing.

Witnesses called emergency services immediately, with 45 firefighters, national marines, and around 20 gendarmes in attendance.

Three helicopters, two SNSM (Société nationale de sauvetage) boats, fishermen, a drone team, a dog team, a maritime patrol boat, the nautical brigade of the Gendarmerie Maritime, and at least one fishing boat, were also mobilised.

The couple was recovered at around 19:30 in cardiac arrest, and the child’s body was found at 22:10. None of them could be revived.

The three other children, aged between 13 and 15, were unharmed but in a state of shock and were immediately taken under the support of a psychological care team.

Director of the Cabinet of the Prefect of Finistère, David Foltz, said that while the accident happened while the tide was still relatively high, “the climate conditions were not unusual”.

He said: “There was certainly a fairly high tidal range, but it wasn't a very rough sea. There was a swell, but it was the usual swell on the Finistère coast.

“We can in no way speak of negligence" on the part of the family, he said. “The mayor of Plogoff has never known of any accidents there, nor have emergency services ever had any drownings in this area.

“But the coast and ocean always remain a permanent danger, in nice weather just as much as bad, and people must always be very careful.”

The first witnesses of the incident are today set to be heard by gendarmerie, to ascertain the circumstances of the accident.

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