St Albans man thought drowned off Turkish coast

PUBLISHED: 07:59 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 06 May 2010

A YOUNG man is thought to have drowned after he was swept out to sea during a swim with his wife while on holiday in Turkey. Joe David Paul, 25, from St Albans, was enjoying a swim with his wife Joanna along the country s Mediterranean coast last week wh

A YOUNG man is thought to have drowned after he was swept out to sea during a swim with his wife while on holiday in Turkey.

Joe David Paul, 25, from St Albans, was enjoying a swim with his wife Joanna along the country's Mediterranean coast last week when the incident happened.

The devoted Christians, who wed two years ago and had lived together in central St Albans, arrived in the Turkish resort of Fethiye on Sunday, October 11.

Last Thursday they took an excursion from the resort and their last stop was Patara Beach - which is widely regarded as Turkey's most beautiful beach - where they went for a swim.

But the couple both got into difficulties due to the outgoing tide and undercurrents and the alarm was raised. Joanna, 29, was rescued but Joe disappeared beneath the waves.

And despite a frantic search to find him, he was still missing when darkness fell five hours later. The search was scaled down after four full days of searching but on Tuesday a body believed to be Joe's was discovered on rocks at Gavuragli, a few miles along the coast. He has yet to be formally identified.

Joanna, a local café and restaurant manager, sustained a minor head injury as she was rescued. She is now staying with her parents in Oxford after her brother flew out to Turkey and brought her home on Saturday.

Joanna and Joe met through and married at The Vineyard Church in St Albans, where they are both members of the congregation.

Joe is also survived by his parents David and Ruth, of Normandy Road, St Albans, along with four brothers and two sisters.

Paying tribute to Joe this week, his family said: "Everything Joe did was in terms of his Christian faith, which defined his life. He had many interests including music, history and natural history. Wherever he went, and whoever he met, he had an impact on people's lives, and was wise beyond his years."

They added: "As a Christian family, we know God's peace at this very sad time."

Joe, who was home-educated, was a self-employed builder and landscaper and had worked for his father's business up until a few years ago.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that a body had been found and said: "The local authorities have yet to make any formal identification or confirm the cause of death. We are in contact with them.

"Next of kin have been informed of the discovery of the body. Consular staff remain in close contact with the family in the UK and will continue to update them of any developments.

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