Portugal drowning victims named as Hackney family

A five-year-old girl from Lower Clapton drowned alongside her grandad on a family holiday in Portugal yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).

Little Lara Lewis, who lived with parents Philip and Sian in Glenarm Road, was strolling along Salgada beach with her grandparents when the three were swept out to sea by a freak wave in the pretty fishing village of Nazare.

They had gone for a walk while Mr and Mrs Lewis sunbathed, and are said to have been outside the section of beach patrolled by lifeguards.

Fishermen who saw the incident made their way over to help and managed to drag the struggling family on board their small boat – but by the time they made it back to shore Lara and 66-year-old grandad Brian O’Dwyer had died.

Emergency crews are believed to have spent nearly an hour trying to revive Lara but were unable to save her or Mr O’Dwyer.


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Grandmother Jill O’Dwyer survived and is recovering in hospital.

Neighbour David Mason, a translator, said he had known Lara since she was a baby.

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He said: “I remember them bringing her home in her dad’s arms and they were such a happy family.

“She was a very happy girl who would always say ‘hello Dave’ when she saw me.

“This is terribly sad news and for a lot of people it’s still sinking in.

“They were well known across the community and a lot of people are very upset by the news.”

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “She was a lovely girl. She used to walk down the street with her mum as happy as anything - she was always smiling.

“It’s very, very sad and I feel for the family.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said officials are aware of the incident and are liaising with Portuguese authorities.

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