Woman swimmer stranded in big surf at Caswell towed to safety by RNLI lifeguard
An RNLI lifeguard rescued a woman from the water in big swell conditions at Caswell Bay.
Lifeguard Tom John spotted the woman and four men swimming outside of the red and yellow flagged area as waves of between 4ft and 5ft swept into the bay on Sunday afternoon (29 August).
Tom signalled to the group to move across towards the flagged safe swimming area but while the four men managed to do so, the woman was unable to make any headway. Tom knew a rip current was running outwards in the middle of the bay near to the woman swimmer so he signalled to her to see if she was okay. When she waved back for help he immediately entered the water with fins and a rescue tube to assist her. He was soon with the woman, who by this time was slightly panicked and in need of urgent assistance.
Tom kept her afloat with the rescue tube and, negotiating the big breaking waves, towed the woman back to the safety of the shallow water where she was reunited with her group. Thankfully, she needed no further medical treatment.
Over at Aberavon beach on Sunday afternoon RNLI lifeguard Rhys Edwards was alert to the danger near the pier in the big swell.
At about 3pm he was conducting a routine safety patrol on the ATV in the pier area, which is known for strong currents in big swells. With swell of between 4ft and 5ft, a high tide and waves breaking near the jetty, Rhys saw two inexperienced surfers entering the water. He advised them on safer areas to go but not long after going in they got stuck in a rip current pulling towards rocks and one surfer was struggling to paddle out of it.
Rhys radioed for support and swam out to the two surfers with a rescue tube and fins. He assisted the two men out of the rip and helped them catch a wave into shore. Neither of the men needed any medical treatment.
Also on Sunday four people were pulled from a rip current at Three Cliffs Bay by RNLI lifeguards.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Rob Steele, said: ‘Sunday saw some big swells in the area and the lifeguards deserve praise for dealing with these incidents in difficult conditions. A rip current is a fast-flowing body of water that can drag people and debris away from the shoreline and out to deeper water. Rips can be very difficult to spot, but sometimes can be identified by a channel of churning, choppy water or debris on the sea's surface.
‘If you find yourself in one, keep calm, raise your hand and shout for help. Don't swim against it as this will lead to exhaustion. Stand rather than swim if the water is shallow enough. If not, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip, then head for shore.
If the initial shock causes you to gasp and panic, do not attempt swimming straight away, but to relax, float and try to find something buoyant to hold on to before swimming towards safety if possible.'
Lifeguards will also be on Port Eynon beach, Caswell Bay, Langland Bay, Swansea Bay and Aberavon Bay every day until 4 September.
Notes to editors:
The attached picture is a stock photo of the RNLI lifeguards. Credit RNLI
For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265 496 or 01745 585162 or by email on Chris_Cousens@RNLI.org.uk
Key facts about the RNLI
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 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.