A British Army Cadet has drowned while heroically saving his brother from the sea on a treacherous beach in Spain.
Ethan Chant, 18, rushed into the water at Playa de la Bota beach in Punta Umbria, south west Spain, when older brother James got into trouble on Sunday evening.
He plucked his brother to safety but was swept out to sea by the notoriously dangerous currents.
Two helicopters and three boats with teams from the Guardia Civil, Coastguard and local police were involved in the search for Ethan.
But the rescue efforts were hampered by strong currents and Ethan’s lifeless body was discovered two miles out to sea on Tuesday morning.
He was taken ashore to Playa Flecha del Rompido beach at 10am before being transferred to a forensic centre in the Andalusian town of Huelva.
Ethan, who travelled to Spain with James to see their father in Seville, was well known in Shropshire as a devoted Army Cadet who had reached the impressive rank of Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM).
Friends of Ethan paid tribute to the tragic teenager, describing him as a ”hero” whose charm ”blew us all away”.
Steph Carter, an army cadet with Ethan for four years, said: ”Ethan was a true hero to us all – he was born a hero and died a hero.
”His cheekiness and charm blew us all away and the friendships he made with people will be remembered forever.
”He loved Army Cadets, it was his life and soul and his rank of RSM wasn’t easy to get to but he showed us we could do it.
”Ethan was a lovely lad, loved by everyone and he’s going to be truly missed. R.I.P Ethan, you’re with the angels above now.”
Shelby Morris added: ”R.I.P you’re amazing and this shouldn’t be you. It came as a shock, I’m sure to everyone. You’ll have a place in all our hearts, you’re gone but always remembered.”
The stretch of coastline is notorious for its strong currents and has taken a number of lives over the years, with a 16-year-old dying last year.
There are no lifeguards in the area before mid-June and the latest tragedy has led to locals calling for authorities to make changes.
One eyewitness told a local newspaper: ”I was there when it happened, and although the emergency services did everything they could to get there as quick as they could, I feel ashamed that there was no lifeguard station, or lifeguard in the area, which attracts many swimmers at this time of year, especially taking into account the dangerous waters in that area. I am very sorry for the family.”
Another said: ”This accident could have been avoided if the beach had been duly appointed and equipped. We need lifeguards at this time of year, when there are no signs warning of the dangers of the area.”
Huelva emergency services director Francisco Huelva said: ”Every year incidents occur like this along the coast of Andalusia. Many of these, but not the majority, are due to imprudent actions. I’m not saying that is the case here.”
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: ”We can confirm the death of a British national, Ethan Chant, in Huelva, Spain.
”Next of kin have been informed and we are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”