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Review Into Lifeguard Cover

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4:51pm 27th October 2014
(Updated 4:51pm 27th October 2014)

The RNLI says it will review whether the beach at the centre of this weekend's tragedy should have extra lifeguard cover.

A man and woman in their forties from St Austell and a man in his fifties from Leeds drowned after getting caught in a rip current.

Four teenagers managed to scramble to shore, as people on the beach battled to save the adults.

Emergency crews, including lifeboats, coastguards, air ambulances and a search and rescue helicopter rushed to the scene.

Now the charity says an annual risk assessment on which beaches should get extra cover out of season will consider the tragedy.

Edwina Hannford, Cornwall Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Heritage and Planning, said "This is a tragic incident and our condolences go out to the family and friends of those who lost their lives.  

"The council is committed to providing safe beaches for local residents and visitors and provides support to the RNLI to help provide lifeguard cover on 57 beaches throughout the main holiday season from April to September. It isn't possible to provide lifeguard cover on all beaches in Cornwall or, indeed, outside of the main season, but the council and the RNLI  work very hard to advise the public of the risks and provide advice about beach safety.

"At the end of each season a detailed assessment is carried out by the RNLI and the council to see what level of lifeguard cover should be provided on every beach for the next year. This involves looking at the number of people who used the beach, the type of activities taking place on the beach, and the topography of the local area. It also considers whether  lifeguard cover should be provided on that beach for the extended season. This year the Council has worked with the RNLI and other partners to provide lifeguard cover on nine popular beaches during the October half term holiday.   

"Outside of the main season there are signs on the beaches offering advice.

"We would like to thank all the emergency services who were involved in this tragic incident and will be working with the RNLI to support their review of lifeguard cover on beaches in Cornwall."

The beaches that currently have extended cover are Praa Sands, Gwithian, Porthmeor, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Fistral, Polzeath, Widemouth, and Summerleaze.

Spokesperson Greg Spray told Pirate FM all beaches are risk assessed: "Mawgan Porth is a fantastic beach, it's a beautiful beach, but it has its hazards like every other beach. It can be dangerous, particularly low tide pushing in towards mid-tide. Some other beaches may be more dangerous at high tide. But every beach has its particular hazards and this needs to be respected.

"Obviously you have to respect the sea. There is good signage on all the beaches. I think you also have to assess the conditions and your own abilities. Listen to locals; get local knowledge and local information from people who know the conditions best."

4:51pm 27th October 2014

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