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RNLI issue warning over rip currents after multiple mass rescues

Lifeguards News Release

Around 20 people, including a young child, have had to be rescued across Cornwall in the past week having been caught in rip currents.

The RNLI are warning visitors to the beach in the upcoming hot weather to keep an eye on conditions after multiple mass rescues of people caught in rip currents. With the heatwave set to return RNLI lifeguards in Cornwall are asking beach goers to always swim between the red and yellow flags if entering the water.

At Tregonhawke beach in south east Cornwall yesterday afternoon, RNLI lifeguard Sean Paddon rescued an 11 year old boy who had become caught in a very sudden, strong rip current. The boy’s little sister warned the lifeguards that her brother was in trouble around 100m to the west of the red and yellow flags.

Sean immediately entered the water with a rescue tube to assist the boy who was already some 50m away from the shore. When Sean reached the casualty he still being pushed out by the current and had inhaled some water. Sean used the rescue tube to keep the casualty afloat, reassure him and then help him back to shore.

Charlie Gillett, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for the area, said:

‘The rip current yesterday was incredibly strong and occurred very suddenly. I entered the water to warn some swimmers to move back between the red and yellow flags and the force of the rip felt like a river. Sean was fantastic today in aiding the child, calming him down and ultimately saving his life’

The previous week RNLI lifeguards at Holywell Bay assisted nine casualties trapped in a rip current. RNLI lifeguard Rohan Maynard spotted a bodyboarder struggling in the current to the south of the red and yellow flags and radioed for assistance from colleagues Emily Anderson and Adam Taylor who were in the inshore rescue boat (IRB).

As the IRB was approaching the casualty, a further five people also got into difficulty in the current. RNLI lifeguard Georgia Mawgan entered the water and used a rescue board to keep the group afloat before the IRB assisted them back to shore. As Georgia began to paddle back to the beach, another three people began struggling in the same current. Georgia assisted them until the IRB returned to take them to the beach.

On the same day at Gwithian beach, 10 bodyboarders became caught in a sudden rip current in around one metre surf. RNLI lifeguard Barney Stevens launched the Rescue Water Craft (jet ski) into the surf and assisted the exhausted casualties back to safety ashore.

Steve Instance, RNLI Community Safety Partner, said:

‘’With the hot weather set to return, we’re asking visitors not to let their guard down at the beach. The sea is dangerous whatever the weather and the bigger swell forecast for the next few days means an increased chance of rip currents.

We have seen some really sudden, strong rip currents catching people out who weren’t swimming between the red and yellow flags. If you are going for a swim, remember to swim between the red and yellow flags as this marks out the safest area to swim on the beach.’


RNLI lifeguard Sean Paddon

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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