A “hero” Brit who is feared to have drowned after jumping into a lake to save his son while on a family holiday in Italy has been pictured with his family.
A desperate search is underway after 51-year-old Aran Chada vanished after leaping into Lake Garda to rescue his 14-year-old son.
The teen had got into difficulty while swimming off a boat the family had hired before his dad managed to drag him to the boat and his mum pulled him back on board.
But Mr Chada, a sales director, began to struggle for breath in the country’s largest lake as his distraught partner watched her husband slip beneath the surface.
A coastguard commander told the Sunday Times the dad possible suffered a “seizure” due to “thermal shock” as the water was ten degrees colder than the air temperature on Friday afternoon.
A coastguard spokesman said the family had rented the boat for two and a half hours and were due to return it shortly before the horror.
They told how it was “very hot on Friday afternoon but the water was a good ten degrees colder…it’s possible he could have had a seizure due to the thermal shock.”
It is reported that Mr Chada had been celebrating his birthday with his partner, Holly Mosley, 39, and son and seven-year-old daughter.
The rented boat was around 500m from the shore, coastguard commander Antonello Ragadale told the paper.
Mr Ragadale said Ms Mosley scream’s alerted other boats to the emergency, with an eyewitness reporting hearing a woman screaming and pointing into the water.
The coastguard and a rescue team including a helicopter and divers raced to the scene and rescue efforts were said to have continued late into Friday night and resumed on Saturday.
A robot submarine was said to have been deployed to search the deep lake, which has a maximum depth of 346m in places.
The family were said to be in a hotel and being offered support from police and a psychologist.
Mr Ragadale said: “This man was a hero and we fear he drowned, but we’re doing everything we can to find his body.
“This is a real tragedy, and the desperation in their faces was evident.
“He did what any father would have done for his son.”
Local media reports the family were staying in the four-star hotel Hotel du Lac et Du Parc at Riva del Garda,
Mr Chada is reported to be a company director in the oil industry who lives with his family in a village near Loughborough, Leicestershire.
The family were at the beginning of their holiday and were due to celebrate Mr Chada’s birthday on Tuesday.
The Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Italy and are in contact with the Italian police.”
The Italian commander vowed rescue workers would continue to search for as long as it takes, to provide some comfort to the family.