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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2005, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Brother tells of drowning tragedy
Picture of Simon Hole

A teenager has described how his two younger brothers were swept to their deaths off the north Wales coast.

Simon Hole and brothers Matthew, 14, and James, 16, got into difficulties while swimming at Llandanwg beach, near Harlech, on Thursday.

Simon, 19, was able to reach the shore, but James died at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, late on Friday, hours after Matthew's body was found on the beach.

The brothers, from Hagley, in Worcestershire, were on holiday.

'Strong current'

On Saturday, Simon described what happened shortly after the three went into the water on Thursday evening.

He said: "Matthew was shouting 'I'm in trouble, I'm in trouble'.

I managed to get a good footing but when I looked back I could see neither of their heads
Simon Hole

"From either side me and James tried to get to him. But then I just managed to get out with the strong current.

"As I tried to get out, James got into trouble. Ten seconds later and I could not see either of them.

"I tried to get to them but I got into trouble myself.

"I managed to get a good footing but when I looked back I could see neither of their heads."

Another brother, Stephen, 18, was watching events from the beach.

Picture of the search operation in north Wales
A major land, sea and air search operation took place

Simon added: "When I got to the beach I could still not see them.

"I ran back to the top by which time Stephen realised something was going on.

"It all happened so quickly. We had been on the beach the night before and it was so calm, but then it picked up."

Simon said he saw James swept up on to the beach, where he was dragged out by rescuers.

He was flown by RAF helicopter to hospital in Bangor where he died at 2330 BST on Friday.

Matthew remained lost at sea, sparking a major land, sea and air rescue operation involving coastguards, an RAF rescue helicopter and RNLI lifeboats.

Following an operation that lasted almost 24 hours, Matthew's body was found at Llandanwg beach at 1950 BST.

Picture of rescue teams in north Wales
Rescuers scoured the coastline during the search

The brothers, from Hagley, near Stourbridge, were on a family holiday staying with their parents, Sue and Kevin, in the village of Penrhyndeudraeth when the accident happened.

Worcestershire County Council said on Saturday that both Matthew and James were pupils at Haybridge High School.

A council spokesman added: "The school are shocked and saddened at the news and their thoughts go out to the family at this tragic and testing time for them."

Coastguards in north Wales said conditions at the beach had not been particularly dangerous at the time of the accident, but warned people to take are while swimming in the sea.

Rob Cramp, of Holyhead Coastguard, said: "All we ask is that people, when they come to the beach, look at the conditions and just take simple precautions."

Sea search for missing teenager
26 Aug 05 |  North West Wales

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