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RNLI lifeguards carry out multiple rescues in North Cornwall

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards in North Cornwall have carried out multiple rescues this week, including two bodyboarders caught in large surf and 11 people caught in a flash rip, as well as helping with a major first aid incident.

On Thursday (1 September) RNLI lifeguards at Widemouth beach sprang into action just after 12pm when they spotted two bodyboarders in difficulty in large dumping waves outside the flagged zone.

RNLI lifeguards Ian Burges and Billy Roberts grabbed rescue boards and paddled out to the father and son who were drifting further out to sea. The lifeguards pulled both casualties on to their boards, but due to the nearby rocks and large waves, they had to paddle further out to find a safer route back to the shore.

Lifeguards managed to get both the casualties back to shore safely, where they advised the man to attend hospital for further checks.

No sooner had the lifeguards reached the shore when they were called into action again when a flash rip current dragged 11 people out to sea.

Lifeguard Billy jumped on the rescue board again, while the inshore rescue boat (IRB) was launched and further lifeguards from nearby Blackrock beach were called in to assist in the mass rescue.

Six people were rescued from the sea by the IRB and a further four were given advice by lifeguards and managed to make their own way back to the shore. Billy brought the last casualty in on the rescue board.

RNLI lifeguard, Billy Roberts, said: ‘It was one of the most difficult rescues I have carried out in six years of lifeguarding. The surf was so big that we had to paddle out further to be able to get a safe route back to the beach. I had barely reached the shore with the first casualty when I was straight back in to help those caught in the rip current. The lifeguard team worked together quickly to make sure everyone was brought back safely.

‘Conditions can change quickly at the coast, so it is really important to swim and bodyboard at lifeguarded beaches, so you know the safe areas to enter the water and can raise the alarm if you do get into difficulty.’

Meanwhile RNLI lifeguards from Harlyn came to the aid of a man who had a suspected heart attack at Mother Ivey’s beach yesterday. Senior RNLI lifeguard Martyn White and lifeguard Mike Carnegie launched the inshore rescue boat from Harlyn to reach the casualty. They arrived to find the casualty unresponsive and three people had started CPR.

The lifeguards used a defibrillator on the casualty and Padstow Coastguard rescue team and the Cornwall Air Ambulance both arrived on the scene to help. The casualty was breathing again when he was airlifted to hospital for further treatment.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor, Dan Hutton, said: ‘This is a great example of team work as there were several emergency services involved. The quick response from the people on the beach and the lifeguard team ensured the casualty was given the best possible chance and we wish him a speedy recovery.’

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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, Carrybridge 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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