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WATCH: Lifeguards rescue boys from rip in Cornwall

WATCH: Lifeguards rescue boys from rip in Cornwall

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 5:12pm 4th August 2017. (Updated at 4:57am 7th August 2017)

Two boys swept out to sea by a rogue wave have been rescued by Cornwall lifeguards.

The incident happened on July 20th, when they found themselves out of their depth and in difficulty at Porthtowan.

Now their dad Chris Smith has praised the lifeguards' quick thinking as they were pulled into a strong rip current.

He says he had been enjoying the beach with their family when sons James, 13, and Scott, 11, got into trouble.

He said: "It was really fortunate the RNLI lifeguards were on the beach as we had been very clear to the boys about the importance of swimming between the flags and not going out too far.

"The event really highlighted to me how quickly things can change. I was very impressed by the speed in which the lifeguards reacted and how they managed the whole situation. I am extremely grateful to them."

During a briefing that morning, lifeguards on duty at Porthtowan decided that as the tide was incoming with a large surf they would put the inshore rescue boat (IRB) in the water to patrol the tidal cut off areas - and be ready if needed in any areas of strong current.

RNLI lifeguard Lewis Rosewell said: "It was around 10.30am and there were around 35 people in the water when we noticed two young swimmers getting pulled out to sea after a rogue wave drained quickly out to sea into a very strong flash rip current.

"The boys were out of their depth and in difficulty. We responded straight away with a lifeguard on the rescue board as well as the inshore rescue boat."

The IRB helm Mark Evans and crew Ishmael Hamon managed to spot the boys struggling to stay afloat - just as one of the boys started to disappear beneath the surface.

They were quickly picked up and taken back to shore, where an assessment was carried out on them both.

On arrival at the beach the boys had spoken to the RNLI's fundraising team that were offering safety advice including what to do if they found themselves in difficulty.

And while they got in trouble, the RNLI says the boys were following RNLI guidance by swimming between the red and yellow flags.

This meant that even though there was a rogue wave, the lifeguards were able to spot them straight away and respond immediately.

In the UK, the majority of RNLI lifeguard incidents involve rip currents. They are a major cause of accidental drowning on beaches all across the world.

Lifeguard Supervisor Drustan Ward said: "This incident could have been a lot more serious if the boys hadn't stopped and listened to the safety advice from the fundraising team at the beach entrance.

"They knew to stay calm and use one arm to wave for assistance when they got into trouble.

"The lifeguards on duty were well prepared and their skills and quick thinking ensured the boys were safely returned to the shore.

"We would advise anyone who sees someone in difficulty in the water to fight their instincts to go in the water themselves and to call 999 and ask for the coastguard." 

Watch the moment a swimmer is rescued from a rip at Constantine...


What should I do if I get caught in a rip?

  • Stay calm 
  • Float on your back to regulate your breathing until you can swim to shore or call for help
  • If you can stand, wade, don't swim
  • Keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float
  • Raise your hand and shout for help
  • Never try to swim directly against the rip or you'll get exhausted
  • Swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore

Read more about the RNLI's 'Respect the Water' or watch how to spot a rip current before you even get in the water...

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