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VIDEO: Bedruthan Steps Rescue

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9:28am 25th July 2014
(Updated 9:28am 25th July 2014)

Lifeguards have managed to swim two women to safety after they got cut off by the tide at Bedruthan Steps.

The pair were stranded on Diggory's Island on Thursday in mounting swells.

'RNLI lifeguards patrolling Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth beaches, and Newquay's volunteer lifeboat crew, worked together this afternoon (24 July) to rescue two females who had been cut off by the tide and trapped by mounting swell on Diggory's Island, a large stack of rocks to the north of Bedruthan Steps.

Lifeguards had to swim the casualties away from the rocks and to the safety of the lifeboat in extremely challenging conditions.

The incident happened just hours after the charity launched a national safety campaign called Respect the Water on nearby Fistral beach.

Following a request by the Coastguard, RNLI lifeguards Nathan Wilmer and Luke Forrest at Watergate were first to respond on the Rescue Water Craft (RWC), closely followed by fellow lifeguards Mark Ebbage and Andrew Robey who were in the Inshore Rescue Boat from Mawgan Porth and both Newquay's RNLI lifeboats which were launched from the station in Newquay harbour.

On arriving at the scene a private jet ski was as close as they could get to the rocks, reassuring the casualties that help was on its way. They were perched on a ledge about six feet up, with the breaking waves below.

Because of number of rocks and the heavy swell it was impossible to get even the RWC into the narrow gully to pick the casualties up off the rocks, so Luke and Andrew swam in through the heavy surf to reach the girls.

Then one at a time, they used a rescue tube to secure each of the casualties and swam them out to the Rescue Water Craft, from where they were transferred into the waiting Altantic class lifeboat and back to Newquay lifeboat station.'  

Mark Ebbage, RNLI lifeguard said the conditions were very challenging: "There was only a small, narrow gully between the rocks and the cliff through which the swell was really smashing through. Luke and Andrew did an outstanding job of swimming in though those conditions. It's the kind of rescue that we train for, although even during training it's hard to imagine conditions being that difficult.

"There was a lot of swell and as the sets of waves came through the waves were smashing up the rocks, there was no way they were going to be able to get off by themselves. Thankfully they've only sustained minor injuries, with some cuts and bruising after being bashed into the rocks.

"It was great team work between the lifeguard teams at Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth who also had to maintain safety cover on the beaches, and Newquay's volunteer lifeboat crew, some of whom had already been busy this morning with the launch of the RNLI's Respect the Water campaign. Incidents like this really illustrate how powerful and unpredictable the sea can be."

9:28am 25th July 2014

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