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VIDEO: Exhausted Woman Pulled From Water At Whitsands

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6:01am 22nd May 2014

Lifeguards say a woman "on her last legs" has been hauled to safety in Whitsand Bay.

She had been swept 350m metres off Tregonhawke on Wednesday afternoon.

RNLI Lifeguards Beau Gillett and Joe Saunders were alerted to the woman, spotted in difficultly in the Happy Valley area by Brixham Coastguard at around midday. At the same time Looe's volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by pager and crew members Toby Bray, Michael Berry and Aaron Rix immediately launched the Atlantic inshore lifeboat Alan and Margaret.

Beau and Joe paddled the one kilometre to the location given on rescue boards, but couldn't see the woman in trouble. Joe paddled into the shore to speak with people on the beach who had heard someone shouting for help while Beau continued the search. He located the woman some 350 metres out from the beach in a very poor state. He said: "As I reached the lady, who was wearing a wetsuit and small swim fins, she was on her lasts legs with exhaustion and wouldn't have managed to stay afloat for much longer. I grabbed her arm and pulled her onto the rescue board where she hung on.

"As Joe joined me we could see that the volunteer crew from Looe were on route so waited for them, all the time reassuring her that she was safe and we'd get her back to the beach. We transferred her into the lifeboat and the crew took us all to Tregantle beach where we were met by the Tamar Coastguard team and a paramedic. Although responsive she was not alert so we gave her oxygen and glucose and kept her warm so that when she was handed over to the paramedic she was in a stable condition."

The casualty was transferred by land ambulance to Derriford Hospital for further care.

Kate Berridge, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor said: "The woman had been in the water for a long time when the RNLI lifeguards reached her and she was in a pretty bad state. Thankfully someone on the shore had heard her cries for help and the RNLI teams were quickly on scene.

"The conditions were fairly calm but the south easterly wind had created quite a choppy sea which would have made sea swimming difficult. The water is also still extremely cold and even with a wetsuit on swimmers can quickly feel the effects. We'd advise anyone wanting to go for a sea swim to do so off a lifeguarded part of the beach and have a chat with the lifeguards before you go out, they can advise on the safest area and the local conditions."

You can watch the rescue unfold here...

6:01am 22nd May 2014

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