UK & World News
Italy: British Couple In Drowning Tragedy
A British man and his fianc?have drowned after getting into difficulty off the coast of Sicily.
Andrew Sturgess, 34, and Carmen Spiridon, 25, died despite the efforts of lifeguards to pull them from the sea.
Officials said the two were non swimmers but had still gone into the water, which was calm at the time. However, there are said to be strong currents in the area where they died.
The alarm was raised after a woman on the beach at Tre Fontane near Campobello in southwest Sicily saw the body of Mr Sturgess floating in the water face down.
Her screams alerted three other people on the beach who dived into the sea and pulled Mr Sturgess onto the sand. They tried to resuscitate him but it was too late.
Minutes later Ms Spiridon's body was also spotted in the water but she was also dead. A doctor at the scene confirmed the deaths.
The couple were due to fly back to their home in Stoke on Trent after spending a week in Italy at the home of Romanian-born Ms Spiridon's mother.
Mr Sturgess was a director with a hydraulic company in the town while his fianc?worked as a waitress. According to police in Italy they were engaged to be married.
Police said they were working on the theory that one of them had got into trouble and then both of them.
Captain Fabio Manzo said: "We were called to the scene by passers-by who had pulled the bodies from the water but a doctor confirmed they were both deceased and nothing could be done.
"We are investigating the circumstances of their deaths and the bodies are now in the mortuary of a local hospital. We have contacted next of kin and the British authorities as well.
"The woman's mother lived locally and they were on holiday with her for the week. I have been to see her and she is obviously very upset. She told me they were engaged and due to be married."
He added: "The water was not rough at the time but from what we have established neither was a strong swimmer and there are awkward currents in the area.
"They had been spotted playing around in the water just a few minutes beforehand. That area of coastline has a strange current and the sand is also very soft there.
"We think that perhaps one of them had got into trouble and that they had tried to save the other but sadly in the end both died.
"An initial examination of the bodies shows they both drowned and did not suffer from any cramp which resulted in them drowning."
Capt Manzo said there was difficulty identifying the couple as they had no documents, although they did recover a medicine bottle with Mr Sturgess's name on it as well as his home town printed on a label.
It was only when Ms Spiridon's mother came into the local police station to report her daughter and her fianc?issing that the connection was made.
The deaths were the third case involving Britons off the coast of Sicily this summer. Last month a 60-year-old man lost his life at Siculiana Marina on the east coast of the island.
An Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are aware of the death of a British National in Italy. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."