Brave RNLI lifeguards rescue man trapped in cave

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeguards from Gwithian Beach rescued a man trapped in a cave yesterday afternoon in the water off Godrevy Point.

After the man’s mother made a 999 call to the Coastguard concerned that her son was in danger, Gwithian lifeguards, Josh Daniel and Sara Rowe, leapt into action and headed to the scene on their rescue water craft.

The lifeguards located the isolated headland quickly but due to the size of the surf, the rescue water craft was unable to get closer to the rocks. Sara swam in towards the cave with a rescue tube and fins. With the assistance of the casualty’s mother, who was shouting and signalling from the rocks above, Sara spotted the casualty at the mouth of the cave; swimming to him she clipped him into the rescue tube to bring him to safety.

The lifeguards found that the man, in his twenties, was cold and scratched from his efforts to climb out of the cave, but uninjured. Josh and Sara then transported him to safety using the sled on the back of the rescue water craft.

Sara Rowe, Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘When the call came in from the Coastguard, I had my wetsuit on already so we immediately set off to help. The tide was coming in and the man was in real danger in rough conditions, unable to climb up the slippery rocks above him and getting repeatedly washed off his feet in the incoming tide.’

Reunited, the casualty and his family expressed their gratitude to the lifeguards who were also congratulated for their bravery by members of the public who had witnessed the rescue.

Sara continued: ‘We encourage people to respect the water and check local hazards and safety information before setting out as it’s easy to get caught out by unexpected tides and waves.’

Thanks to the speedy and successful response of the Gwithian lifeguards, the St Ives lifeboat, the Coastguard helicopter and the Coastguard Rescue Team were all stood down.

Media contacts
For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

Notes to Editors
The RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, aims to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024. The campaign is targeted at adult men, who account for most incidents. Last year saw an increase in the number of men losing their lives at the coast. Between 2011 and 2014 men have accounted for three-quarters (75%) of coastal deaths but, in 2015, this increased to 84%.

A surprising trend is that around half of the people who die at the coast each year never planned to enter the water. Of the 168 deaths last year, over half (52%) did not intend to get wet – people taking part in activities such as coastal walking, running, climbing or angling. In fact, coastal walking and running accounted for over one-fifth (21%) of last year’s coastal deaths.

For more information on the current RNLI Respect The Water Campaign go to

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, 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.