RNLI lifeguards respond to several major incidents in North Devon

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards have had a busy week with rescues and first aids at Woolacombe and Croyde beaches.

On Tuesday (23 August) at 1pm, RNLI lifeguards in Woolacombe responded to a male who had a heart attack in the water. The incident was witnessed by a trainee paramedic who also attended to the casualty. Lifeguards assisted with CPR, with Alfie Berry on chest compressions, before the casualty was airlifted to hospital for further treatment.

Later on that day at around 3.30pm, RNLI lifeguards spotted a man in trouble in the water and responded rapidly. Children who were near to the man helped him until RNLI lifeguard Gary Sink pulled him from the water. The casualty was unconscious and was treated on the beach by Gary, before being sent to hospital in the air ambulance. 

RNLI lifeguards at Croyde also handled several major incidents on the same day. 

A young girl’s life was saved when she was caught in a rip current at around 3.30pm. RNLI lifeguard Sean Deasy launched the rescue water craft (RWC), to rescue her in challenging conditions. The girl was going under the waves in large powerful surf.  Her father was trying to help her but was overwhelmed by the surf himself.

During the afternoon, a woman collapsed on the slipway with a heart condition and was treated by RNLI lifeguard manager Phil Hill, until paramedics took over. The casualty was dispatched on the scene.

Later in the afternoon, lifeguards Jack Hutchins, Archie Willis and James Bunney dealt with a teenage girl with a serious spinal injury.  They had to assist her with her breathing as she was in a bad condition. The coastguard assisted with a helicopter landing, and the casualty was taken to North Devon District Hospital for further treatment.

Phil Hill, RNLI Lifeguard Manager, said: ‘Lifeguards have been extremely busy this week and have done a fantastic job keeping people safe on the beaches.

‘We want people to enjoy our beautiful coastline this Bank Holiday weekend, but make sure they do it safely. Conditions can change quickly at the beach, so it is really important to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast.

‘If you want to swim or bathe in the sea we would advise you do so at a lifeguarded beach. The red and yellow flags indicate the safest areas to swim and lifeguards keep watch over this area, so if you do get into difficulty raise your arm and call for help.

‘RNLI lifeguards are always happy to answer any questions or advise of any risks, including where any rip currents may be, which can catch out even the most experienced swimmers.’

RNLI lifeguards in North Devon were also been busy reuniting lost children with their parents, helping an elderly woman with a broken wrist and various first aid incidents.

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign is running throughout the summer. To find out more about the dangers of the coast and how to stay safe, visit www.rnli.org/respectthewater

Notes to editors

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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