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RNLI lifeguards rescue kayaking family at Tolcarne

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards rescued a family of five on Thursday (11 August) when they got into difficulty kayaking at Tolcarne beach, Newquay.

At 5.40pm, Senior RNLI Lifeguard Will Giles was on foot patrol at the water’s edge when he spotted a group of five kayakers drifting across the bay from the harbour. A large wave then capsized all five kayaks, throwing all five people into the water. The tide was going out and waves were around 1-2ft. 

Will responded immediately with a rescue board and paddled out to the group. Another RNLI lifeguard, Will Holmes, from neighbouring beach Great Western also responded and followed Will Giles into the water on another rescue board.

Marie Bennetts from Plymouth was one of the kayakers. She said: ‘We started off kayaking in the harbour and then we ventured out to sea. We were all happy and having a fantastic time. Conditions changed quickly though and the wind picked up. It started to get choppy so I decided we should all head back in.

‘A huge wave hit us side on and capsized us all in to the water. We were all wearing lifejackets but my kids were being taking out to sea and I was trying to swim against the current to get to them. I started panicking and I was exhausted trying to get to the children. The lifeguards were there instantly and I was shouting ‘my kids!’.’

The lifeguards rescued and returned the family back to the beach and assessed their condition. All the casualties were uninjured and had not inhaled any water.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Nathan Wilmer, said: ‘It’s vital to wear a lifejacket when kayaking as it will help keep you afloat while you wait for help to arrive. If you’re heading out on the water, enjoy yourself but be sure to check weather and tides before leaving and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.’

Marie added: ‘The RNLI lifeguards were fantastic. The situation escalated quickly and they were brilliant to respond. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what would have happened.’

To find out more, go to respectthewater.com/kayaking 

Notes to editors
•           From 2011 to 2015, the RNLI’s lifeboat crews in the south west launched 406 times to kayakers and canoeists, rescuing 298 people and saving 39 lives.

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For further information, please contact either Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854479 or aysha_bryant@rnli.org.uk or Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786668847 or email emma_haines@rnli.org.uk.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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