A MAN has died after a giant tree fell onto a houseboat – as a pal tells of the desperate struggle to save him from the rising tide. 

Fire, ambulance and coastguard services rushed to the scene at Sailor’s Creek, near Flushing in Cornwall, yesterday at 5:30pm after reports of people trapped under a fallen tree. 

A man in his 50s was given medical treatment at the scene but tragically died later.

Now the boat’s owner and friend who witnessed the horror has named the deceased as Paul Welch – although he has not been officially identified.

Houseboat owner Lee Moody today revealed the frantic struggle to save Mr Welch from the rising tide moments after an oak collapsed on top of them.

Speaking to the Falmouth Packet, Mr Moody said the tree sounded like a “massive earthquake” as it came crashing down on the boat.

He said: "The tree fell completely down and smashed our boat up, took our mast down.

"It was like a massive earthquake, then a massive smash.”

Mr Moody, his girlfriend, and Mr Welch are believed to all have been on board the houseboat at Sailor’s Creek at the time. 

The bereaved friend told how his partner desperately tried to save Mr Welch’s life as he lay in the wreckage by holding his head above the rising tide.

Mr Moody told the paper: "I couldn’t get down to help, so my girlfriend went down and was trying to save him with the tide coming in trying to hold his head up out of the water. 

“It was coming in around him, he was all crushed."

Despite the friends' efforts, Mr Welch tragically died later on at the scene.

Mr Welch’s young daughter is also believed to have witnessed the harrowing accident. 

Mr Moody told the paper neither he nor his girlfriend were injured.

While officers have yet to confirm the man's identity, Devon and Cornwall Police said they were treating the death as a “tragic accident”. 

The coastguard has also confirmed the incident involved a person inside a boat – and initial police reports suggest a tree fell onto the boat, CornwallLive reports. 

The victim's next of kin has been informed and a file will be prepared for the coroner, police confirmed.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: "Police were called following reports that a tree had fallen and a man on the beach had been Injured.

"The coast guard and RNLI lifeboat also attended the scene and the man was brought to shore where he was seen by paramedics.

"The man in his 50s was confirmed deceased at the scene, his next of kin have been informed.

"At this time the death is not being treated as suspicious but as an accidental death.

"We are carrying out inquiries today and in due course a file will be prepared for the coroner.

"We're asking for anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the police on 101."

A spokesperson for the coast guard told CornwallLive: "At 5.30pm today (2nd January), HM Coastguard received a report of an incident involving one person onboard a vessel at Sailors Creek, Flushing, Falmouth.

"Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team and Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat were sent and assisted in a multi-agency response, in which Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service extracted and recovered the person from the vessel.

"The casualty was then passed into the care of the South Western Ambulance Service at the scene for immediate medical attention." 

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