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Boy struggling to keep head above water rescued by RNLI lifeguard at Ogmore

Lifeguards News Release

A teenager struggling to keep his head above water in the sea off a south Wales beach was rescued by an RNLI lifeguard.

An RNLI lifeguard in action

RNLI

An RNLI lifeguard in action

He was one of three 16-year-old boys helped from the water in a joint rescue by the charity’s lifeguards and Penybont Surf Lifesaving Club members at Ogmore beach on Sunday (27 August).

The three boys got into difficulty at about 5pm when they stepped off a sandbank about 40m out from the beach and suddenly found themselves out of their depth in deep water.

RNLI lifeguards heard the boys, who were between 50m and 100m to the right of the red and yellow flagged safe swimming area, calling for help. Lifeguard Dave Allen had just returned back to shore on a surf rescue board after a routine safety inspection of a kayak and immediately rushed to the struggling boys.

All three boys were out of their depth, but it was clear the boy furthest away from the beach was in most difficulty. He was exhausted, panicking and by the time Dave reached him his head was beginning to go under the water.

Dave managed to get the casualty to hold onto the surf rescue board and them pulled him onto the board and paddled him back towards the shore. The boy was conscious but exhausted and unresponsive and when he returned to the beach was too tired to walk. Dave assisted him away from the waterline and treated him for shock.

The RNLI lifeguard service on Ogmore beach was supported by volunteers from Penybont SLSC over the busy Bank Holiday weekend and club member Steve Parker had spotted the danger and came to assist. While Dave was treating the first boy on the beach Steve swam out to the other two with a rescue tube. One of them had managed to get back onto the sandbank, so Steve swam to the other and brought him back to the shallower water of the sandbank, before returning them both to the beach.

An ambulance had been called and during routine condition assessments on the beach all three boys said they had swallowed water so lifeguards recommended they go to hospital with paramedics.

Llantwit Major Coastguard Rescue Team members were also on scene.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Ross Gribble said: ‘We were glad to be able to help these three boys and we wish them a full and speedy recovery.

‘This incident proves how unpredictable the sea can be - one minute the boys were happily playing in their depth and the next they were panicking and struggling to stay afloat in deep water. The swift actions of our lifeguards and Penybont SLSC members ensured a good outcome for the three teenagers and we would also like to thank Penybont SLSC for their support throughout the summer.’

The RNLI’s seasonal lifeguard service at four Vale of Glamorgan beaches - Ogmore beach, Whitmore Bay on Barry Island, Llanwtit Major beach and Southerndown – as well as Coney beach and Pink Bay in Porthcawl will end on Sunday (3 September). RNLI lifeguards will continue to patrol daily on Trecco Bay and on weekends at Rest Bay between 10am and 6pm throughout September.

Ross added: ‘I would like to thank all the lifeguards who once again provided a first class safety service on the beaches this summer. They have shown commitment and dedication to both their ongoing training and their work on the beaches.

‘After Sunday there will be no red and yellow flags flying at the majority of the beaches in the area, which means there’s no lifeguard service operating.

‘People visiting the beaches after this can help keep themselves safe by taking note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, going with a friend or telling someone on the shore where they are going, and always being aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water. Autumn sees big spring tides and bigger swell around the coast. People walking on the coast should always check the tide times before setting out and carry a means of communication.

‘The bigger swells mean more unpredictable rip currents in the water, which are strong currents of water running out to sea that can quickly drag you out beyond your depth. If you get caught in a rip, don’t panic, and don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can stand, wade, don’t swim. If you’re out of your depth and getting tired, try to relax and float for a short time to regain control of your breathing. Then, if you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore, raise your hand and shout for help.

‘The RNLI’s advice is not to enter the water if you see someone in trouble but rather to call 999 and ask for the coastguard.’

Notes to editors:

The attached pictures is a stock image of an RNLI lifeguard in action. Credit RNLI.

For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265 496 or 01745 585162 or by email on Chris_Cousens@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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland