Holidaymaker Francesca Murphy seeks mystery lifesaver
- 17 September 2013
- From the section Wales
A Cardiff holidaymaker wants to trace a mystery Swansea man to thank him for saving her life when she nearly drowned off a French beach.
Fran Murphy was paddling with three friends on a sandbank at a resort near Perpignan when it collapsed.
The group was left in difficulty, with Ms Murphy, 52, nearly unconscious.
However, a man, believed to be from Swansea, rescued them and brought Ms Murphy ashore before handing her over to French emergency services.
Ms Murphy, a librarian in Cardiff, was on the second day of a week-long holiday with colleagues.
She said: "It was a beautiful day and we'd been there the day before with no problems.
"I can swim, but I'm a very poor swimmer, and we were in the water, up to our thighs at most, and keeping close to the shore.
"We're not really sure what happened but there was quite a big surge and the next thing I know we were separated and there was nothing under my feet."
Ms Murphy said she started to panic, and friends tried to keep her head above water and get her ashore.
However, she believes a rip current prevented them getting out of the water, adding: "We couldn't move, and by that point I was starting to lose consciousness."
She said the mystery man was in the water and came to their rescue.
"He came straight to us and got hold of me, but I was semi-conscious and don't remember anything about it.
"He got me to shore and there was an ambulance there."
Ms Murphy said the man also helped her three friends.
She added: "I don't remember anything about my saviour, but my friends gave me a description.
"He told one of my friends, when he knew she was okay, that he was from Swansea.
"He joked that if he'd have known we were from Cardiff, he'd have left us in there.
"He just said, 'if you're all okay I will go back to my holiday,' and disappeared."
Ms Murphy said her lungs were 80% full of water, and she remained in hospital for over a week, with two days in intensive care.
She said that if she had been in the water a few minutes longer, " he might have got me out, but I don't think I would've been breathing."
She added: "I wouldn't want to embarrass him if he didn't want to be found, but I just want to say thank you.
"He did an amazing thing and he might not realise what he has done."
The mystery man is described as about 6ft 4in tall, a strong swimmer and calm in a crisis.