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RNLI lifeguard and lifeboat crew rescue elderly woman and dog in Newquay estuary

Lifeboats News Release

An elderly woman and her blind dog were rescued after being cut off by the tide in an estuary in Newquay yesterday thanks to a combined effort from an RNLI lifeguard, RNLI lifeboats, Coastguard and police.

The emergency services were alerted to the fact a woman had become cut off by the high tide when walking her dog along the Gannel Estuary in Newquay at around 5:30pm last night.

Teams from the Coastguard and police searched for the woman and could hear her shouts for help but couldn’t see her position on the river bank due to thick reed beds.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Lewis Timson, who had just finished his lifeguarding duties for the day, went to the scene with a rescue board.

Using the board, he was able to paddle down the river until he found the woman and her dog, both very cold and wet. She had been in the water up to her neck.

Lewis was able to move the woman onto the rescue board, with the help of one of the coastguard team, but there was nowhere they could safely get her out of the river.

Meanwhile, both RNLI lifeboats from Newquay had been launched. The Atlantic 85 battled big waves to cross Fistral Bay to reach the mouth of the estuary, but due to the high tide, was unable to get under a footbridge to reach the woman up river.

The smaller D-class boat was unable to launch in the rough weather, so the volunteer crew took it through the town centre on a trailer in order to reach a slipway into the estuary.

From there, they were able to meet up with Lewis and take the woman and her dog on board the lifeboat. They transferred her back to a slipway where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor and trainee volunteer lifeboat crew member, Lewis Timson, said: ‘The woman had managed to scramble out of the water on to land with her dog, but by the time I reached her she was very cold and was extremely relieved to see us.

‘It was lucky we reached her when we did and that was thanks to great team work by all the emergency services involved in the rescue.

‘This week the tides are very big, so we would advise anyone walking or using the water to check the tide times and the size, which can affect how quickly the water moves.

‘If you do get into difficulty or see anyone in trouble in the water call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

The entire rescue lasted around two hours.

Notes to editors
• Video footage of Newquay RNLI Lifeboat launching is available.

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For further information, please contact either Chlӧe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920 818807 or email or Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or email


Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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