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French family with kids rescued off Lefkada; one arrest (video)

Greek Coast Guard rushed to rescue a French family in sea distress off the Kathisma beach on the island of Lefkada on Tuesday afternoon.

The parents, two teenager boys and one guide/driver in four canoes-kayaks were swept away by the high waves and the strong winds.

It was a lifeguard supervisor at the island’s Kathisma beach who informed the Lefkada Port Authority that four to five canoes – kayaks were about 400 meters away from the shore and were unable to return.

At the time of the incident strong winds were blowing with intensity of 7 Beaufort.

Two Coast Guard patrol boats as well as a land patrol vehicle arrived at the scene. Five people were rounded up by a patrol boat, the French family of four and the group’s foreign driver and were safely transported to the port of Lefkada.

Video: via Coast Guard

During the investigation by the Port Authority, it was found that the foreign driver had rented the canoes in adverse weather conditions and without having a valid marine recreational vehicle rental permit.

He was arrested for violating article 306 of the Criminal Code, while the prescribed administrative sanctions were also imposed on him.

The case ended in the court room on Wednesday that sentenced the driver into 12 months suspended sentence.

The French parents of two boys aged 14 and 15, told the court that they started their trip from Ai Yiannis and had a final destination at Gaidaros beach in Kalamitsi.

However, when they arrived outside Kathisma around 5 p.m. the weather, as happens very often in the area, changed, with the result that help was requested and the Coast Guard boat, to save them and get them safely to land.

The parents recalled their anxiety about whether they will be rescued or not.

It should be noted that the 15-year-old boy of the family was alone in the canoe-kayak.

The accused was tried in the context of the automatic procedure, while in his apology he said, among other things, that he was misled by the kites he saw flying, so he thought that the weather was good, that for the first time in his life he saw the weather change so quickly in the area, with such big waves.

He added that he tought the boy alone in the canoe was 17 years old and not  15.

However, he did not convince the court, the prosecutor recommended his conviction for serial exposure to danger and to be tried with a suspended sentence of 12 months and the payment of court costs, local media reported.

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