A man has drowned in front of horrified crowds at one of Malta’s busiest resorts after being swept into the sea by a large wave.
The 26-year-old had gone down steps close to the water’s edge by the promenade in Sliema when he was pulled under the water and dragged out to sea.
Shocked tourists and passersby watched in horror as two of his friends jumped in to try to pull him to safety.
One woman posted on Facebook: ‘I saw it all happen, it was terrifying.
‘His two friends tried to save him but the sea current was far too strong.’
An Armed Forces of Malta search and rescue helicopter was scrambled to the scene at around 4.20pm on Wednesday.
Police revealed the victim was from Ukraine but lived in St Julian’s.
In a statement, they added: ‘An ambulance which was called on site, took two men to Mater Dei Hospital for further medical assistance, while the Armed Forces of Malta were called on site to search for the missing man.
‘The man was unfortunately found dead, while the other two men were certified as suffering from slight injuries.’
‘As we work to establish the full circumstances of, we urge anyone who witnessed the incident or perhaps have information that could assist, to make contact with the police.
‘Given the recent weather conditions we’d urge members of the public to take care, especially when near coastal or beach areas.’
Witnesses described the weather conditions at the time as ‘squally’ with strong winds battering the northern Maltese coast.