A drowning man had a stroke of luck when he was rescued by an Olympic swimmer who had been relaxing nearby.
Olympic medal-winner Filippo Magnini was with his girlfriend Giorgia Palmas on a Sardinian beach when he heard cries for help and launched into action, according to local media reports.
The heroic rescue happened after a man who had been floating on an inflatable off the shore of Cala Sinzias beach got into trouble.
Lifeguards raced towards the incident but were beaten to it by Magnini, who quickly reached the drowning man and held him above water until the rescue boat arrived.
The retired sportsman later told Italian paper Corriere Dello Sport: “I just did what I had to.
“The bather was in a lot of trouble. He was quite frightened, he was really stuck and had swallowed some seawater.
“When I reached him he wasn’t even able to speak, and it wasn’t easy to lift him on to the raft, so we laid him on an airbed that some other bathers had nearby.”
A doctor treated the man at the scene and he was taken to hospital but he was not in a life-threatening condition.
The incident was thought to be partly caused by a large temperature difference between the scorching air and the cool sea, according to local newspaper L’Unione SardaNewspaper editor Marco Bencivenga, who saw the events unfold, said Magnini had told him: “I only did my duty, the important thing is that he is well.”
Magnini, 37, has twice won gold medals at the World Championships in 2005 and 2007.
He was also part of the Italian 4x200m freestyle relay team which won bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
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