RNLI warning to visit lifeguarded beach after 8 people get caught in rip current
A group of people enjoying the water at Treyarnon Bay found themselves in difficulty yesterday (Wednesday 25 October) when a large wave swept them out to sea.
Eight people got caught in the rip current, including a father and his two sons and a separate group of five holidaymakers, including three adults and two teenagers.
17-year-old James Turner said: ‘My friend Grace and I were in the sea with a body board and surf board when we started getting swept out to sea with several others. We realised we were not in a good situation and some of the group got parted. There was a man who was with his two sons and he was struggling, but me and Grace were able to reach him and help him stay afloat with our boards.’
Kayaker Dave Edwards was at the beach with his family for the day when he spotted the incident unfolding. He paddled to his fiancé who was bodyboarding and gave her his phone that he carries with him to call the emergency services.
He said: ‘Some of the group had managed to get themselves back in and they signalled to me to go further out. I looked up and couldn’t see anyone, but then I went over the next wave and saw a group of four people huddled together around a body board, so I paddled out to them. I have a bit of rope on the back of my kayak in case I ever capsize and so I was able to tow the group back in.’
The main lifeguard season ended on most of Cornwall’s beaches, including Treyarnon on Sunday 1 October.
Off-duty lifeguard Charlie Henwood had been at the beach when he was alerted to what was happening. Charlie is one of a team of experienced RNLI lifeguards who have access to emergency rescue equipment stored on beaches in case of exactly this type of scenario.
He got a rescue board from the emergency rescue bin at Treyarnon and was heading into the water as the group reached the shore.
Charlie said: ‘The sea conditions were pretty challenging even though it has been a really sunny day. The group were being swept around to Constantine and were extremely lucky that they had James’ bodyboard to help them stay afloat and that the kayaker had spotted them in difficulty.’
Once ashore the father-of-two collapsed and Charlie was able to use the emergency first aid kit from the out-of-hours response box to assist two off-duty nurses who treated the man before he was put into the care of the ambulance service.
Cornwall Air Ambulance, South Western Ambulance Service, Devon and Cornwall Police and HM Coastguard were all in attendance.
Additional lifeguard cover is being provided at some of the more popular beaches in the region until the end of half term (Sunday October 29) and the RNLI would advise anyone planning a trip to the beach this week to choose a lifeguarded beach.
Beaches operating a lifeguard service this half term in Cornwall are Porthtowan, Perranporth, Praa Sands, Gwithian, Porthmeor, Sennen, Fistral, Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth, Harlyn, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze.
In Devon, there are lifeguard patrols at Croyde, Woolacombe and Bantham beaches.
Lifeguard Supervisor Leon Bennet said: ‘The board bins remain set up during off-peak times to allow for off-duty lifeguards and trained members of the public to respond to out-of-hours incidents using the community rescue equipment stored there. It is playing a vital part towards reducing lives lost at sea.’
As part of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign the charity advises that you do not jump into the water if you see someone in trouble, but call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. If you have something that floats, throw it to them.
You can find out more about how to stay safe in and around the water by visiting RNLI.org/RespectTheWater.
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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.