Pirate FM News

VIDEO: Lifejacket saves angler hit by freak wave

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Published by Emma Carton at 7:01am 22nd December 2018.

An angler from Cornwall has described how a 50th birthday present saved him from drowning.

Neal Dews was moving between beaches in Newquay when a freak wave knocked him off his feet.

He was wearing a lifejacket that his wife had only bought him a few weeks before, after watching a safety blog.

"If it wasn't for that lifejacket, no questions asked, I wouldn't be sat here. It saved my life".

Neal is urging any angler who does not have a lifejacket to add it on their Christmas list or make a New Year resolution.

This is Neal's story...

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Angler Neal Dews says a lifejacket, bought as a 50th birthday present, saved him from drowning on the beach in Newquay

One Sunday in November, Neil Dews went out fishing before daybreak. as he has often done for the last 21 years.

After fishing for an hour, he was met by a wall of water as he took a familiar route through a cave to switch beaches.

"I took about a dozen steps, then I heard something. I saw a small rush of water coming in so I stood and braced myself and it rushed up to my knees.

"Not even 30 seconds later there was a louder noise, a big noise. I put my cap-lamp back on again to be faced by a wall of water.

"I didn't have time to react. Before I knew it, it was on top of me. It knocked me clean off my feet, backwards, into the rocks upside down.

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Angler Neal was knocked off his feet and slammed into the rocks when he was hit by a freak wave on a Newquay beach 

"When I hit the rocks and it knocked all the wind out me, that's when panic set in. I had no control of what was going on around me whatsoever. The only way I can describe it is like putting a rag doll in a washing machine".

As soon as Neal went underwater, his lifejacket automatically inflated, bringing his head to the surface. But he remained at the mercy of the powerful waves.

"It must have dragged me for 30, 40 yards. I remember trying to dig my heels into the sand going backwards. The sea wanted me. It was not going to let me go.

"I can remember crying to myself, 'No. No. Not like this. Please, not like this'.

Neal clung to a rock until the water drained away. Bruised and battered but somehow with no other injuries, he clambered onto dry land.

You can watch Neal's full story below...

The figures' for anglers lost at sea are frightening...

Between 2012-2016, 46 anglers died fishing off the UK coast, 25 of them while fishing from the shore.

The RNLI found that 70% of shore anglers who drowned were swept into the sea by waves. None were wearing a lifejacket.

Over the last 12 months, the RNLI has been working with respected angler Henry Gilbey on a series of safety videos.

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Neal says his wife had only bought the lifejacket that saved him a few weeks before, after they watched a safety blog

It was one of these films, that Neal saw and showed Zoe, that made her give him the lifejacket for his birthday in October.

"When I saw that film I said, 'We've really got to get you a lifejacket'.

"We do everything to keep our two boys safe. Belts and braces, lifejackets and this and that. But for himself, [Neal would say] 'No, I'm fine. I've got phone and my radio, I'm fine'."

Zoe Dews

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Neal is urging any angler who does not own a lifejacket to get one for Christmas or make it a New Year resolution

Henry's message to fellow anglers is simple:

"Please, please wear a lifejacket. Think about what you do and how you can best improve your chances of coming home to your family".

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