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Saturday, 24 June, 2000, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Holidaymaker 'drowned saving friend'
Seafront at Blackpool
The rescue search has been scaled down
Police fear that a young man has drowned while trying to save a friend who fell into rough seas in Blackpool.

An air and sea search for the 19-year-old man has been scaled down along the Lancashire shore as hopes of finding him fade.

It is thought the two males were swept into the water while taking photos of the high tide

Lancashire Police
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "Indications are that a man was swept from the promenade by a large wave and his friend jumped into the water to try and save him."

The holidaymakers, both aged 19, are from the Stoke-on-Trent area and they are not being named until relatives are contacted.

The police spokesman said: "It is thought the two males were swept into the water while taking photos of the high tide."

A worried third friend raised the alarm after the pair went missing off Gynn Square, on Blackpool's North Shore, at 0240 BST on Sunday.

Dramatic rescue

One of the men was pulled from the sea a little over 20 minutes later in a search mission featuring a helicopter scrambled from RAF Valley in Anglesey, three coastguard rescue teams and two lifeboats.

The search, which continued throughout the night, was scaled down to the few miles surrounding the area where the man was last seen.

Liverpool coastguard watch manager Jerry Barker said: "They have been searching throughout the night the few miles either side of where the man was last seen.

"As the wind and tide are acting against each other we have been able to keep our search to a fairly concentrated area.

'Difficult to negotiate'

"However this particular area has a high sea wall where the sea breaks which would also be difficult for someone in the water to negotiate."

He said strong north-westerly winds and rough seas had made the search difficult.

Lancashire Constabulary said the rescued man had been taken to Blackpool Victoria hospital where he was treated for cuts, extreme cold and shock.

A spokesman said the man was "cold and wet and suffering from the effects of alcohol, but otherwise well".

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