Greek police are investigating how a British holidaymaker died while riding on an inflatable ‘sofa’ being towed by a speedboat.
Simon Crewe was killed when the boat ride during on the last day of a dream holiday on the isle of Kefalonia went tragically wrong.
The father-of-three from Whetstone, Leicester was a passenger on the dinghy ride along with his brother David and a family friend.
Simon Crewe, left, was on a dream holiday on the Greek island of Kefalonia with his partner of three years Vikki Hewitt when he fell from an inflatable sofa and died a short time later
Simon Crewe was killed in the final day of a dream holiday to the Greek island of Kefalonia
His brother was struck on the head by an unidentified object, while a friend was thrown into the air and landed in the sea,
But as David tried to help his unconscious friend, he turned to his brother and saw to his shock that the 52-year-old had collapsed.
Simon’s partner, Vicki Hewitt, 49, who was travelling in the speed boat, watched in horror as the driver carried out emergency first aid to try to revive him. But he was later pronounced dead.
Now police are investigating the cause of the tragedy which happened on Tuesday, but so far the reason for the crash remains a mystery.
The horror unfolded on Tuesday off Costa Costa beach, in the resort of Lassi, when eyewitnesses heard a ‘massive bang’.
Simon, a carpenter, had been on the island for six days, enjoying ‘the most fantastic holiday ever’ with partner Vicki Hewitt, 49, and three others.
The trio were riding on an inflatable sofa being pulled by a speedboat, in which Vicki was a passenger.
‘Simon wanted us all to go on the sofa but I had a bad back so myself and another woman went in the boat,’ said Vicki, recalling the horrific events.
‘We didn’t have life jackets but the three men who went on the sofa did.’
The 52-year-old collapsed while on an inflatable sofa which was being towed by a speed boat
The incident happened on the Costa Costa beach on the resort of Lassi
About 40 seconds into the ride, Vicki saw the sofa bounce heavily and one of the passengers was thrown about 10ft into the air.
‘Then the driver said, ‘There’s only two on the sofa’. We were looking for the third person in the water and saw him floating face up.
‘Then I looked at the sofa and saw Simon lying very still and shouted the driver, who was getting the person in the water up onto the boat.
‘The driver then dived into the water and swam over to the sofa. I could see the driver doing CPR on Simon.
‘We were 20 metres out at sea and no-one on the beach could hear me screaming for help.’
A friend on the beach who was filming the ride had no idea they were in so much trouble, as they were too far out for her to hear and properly see what was happening.
Desperate to reach Simon, Vicki got hold of the rope attaching the sofa to the speedboat and tried to pull it towards the boat, while screaming for help.
A man on a jet ski came towards them and drove the boat back to shore, towing the sofa.
Once back on the beach, Vicki tried to resuscitate Simon with mouth to mouth, while other holidaymakers including two doctors rushed to help.
Vicki said: ‘I was desperate, but he never came round. An ambulance came and loaded him into it with the other man who we’d rescued from the water.
‘They wouldn’t let me or the other man’s partner go with them.’
The man who had been on the jet ski drove the two women to the main hospital on the island where Vicki was told Simon was dead.
Vicki, Simon’s partner of three years, said: ‘I can’t believe he has gone. He was the very best of men.’
The injured man is still in hospital in Greece with internal injuries.
Simon’s heartbroken brother, David, said: ‘Simon had his heart set on having a go on the inflatable yellow sofa we’d seen being pulled out by speedboat – a bit like the banana boat rides.
‘He loved fun and we’d had a brilliant week’s holiday. It was the last day and about 5pm, so me and the two other men from our party of six agreed and got on the sofa.’
The ride seated eight, but only the three men were on it at the time of the incident.
‘Two of our partners, including his partner Vicki, got into the speedboat with the driver, facing us so they could see us being towed behind,’ he added.
‘The ride had begun and there was a massive bang.
‘Something hit my head. I thought we must have hit a wave. ‘Our friend was thrown into the sea and disappeared completely.
‘I turned to Simon and – I don’t know what had happened, but I watched him die.’
David’s partner’s video is now with Greek police authorities investigating the incident.
The owner of the speedboat company was later taken in for questioning by the police.
Tributes to Simon have poured in describing him as ‘full of fun’ with a ‘larger than life’ character.
Vicki flew back home to the UK on Wednesday after the whole party had been interviewed by police.
She had to leave behind Simon’s body, which remains with the Greek Coroner’s Office while an inquest is carried out.
The family expects it to be at least 14 days before his body is released and flown back to their home in to Whetstone, Leicester.
Vicki said: ‘There may have to be another inquest here, depending on the outcome from the Greek coroner.’
She said she was keen to point out that, contrary to claims on Greek social media and in Greek newspapers that there were two operatives on the boat, there was only one.
‘We still don’t know for sure what caused the accident or Simon’s death, but in my own opinion the speedboat was going too fast,’ she added.
Family and friends are still reeling from the shock of Simon’s death, and are supporting each other.
Vicki said: ‘We are all devastated, and the only comfort I can find is that everyone including Simon had been having the best holiday ever, filled with fun and laughter, which we will never forget, before tragedy struck.’
A Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: ‘Our staff have offered advice to the partner of a British man who has died in Greece. We remain in contact with the Greek authorities.’