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Porthtowan RNLI lifeguards rescue two on first day of extended hours patrols

Lifeguards News Release

At 6.45pm on 22 July RNLI lifeguard Matthew Trewhella, 21, rescued a 17 year old man and 40 year old man experiencing difficulties on the rocks at Porthtowan. The beach had been red flagged at the time and it was a clear, sunny evening with an ebbing tide, 1.5-2m waves and an onshore wind.

Joseph Hollister

RNLI lifeguard Matthew Trewhella with the rescue board.

At 6.45pm on 22 July RNLI lifeguard Matthew Trewhella, 21, rescued a 17 year old man and 40 year old man experiencing difficulties on the rocks at Porthtowan. The beach had been red flagged at the time of the incident and it was a clear, sunny evening with an ebbing tide, 1.5-2m waves and an onshore wind.

Senior RNLI lifeguard, Deshko Matthews, was at the water’s edge and alerted fellow lifeguard Matthew, who was in the beach lifeguard unit, to two men climbing rocks near the man-made sea pool as the tide was pushing in. Matthew proceeded on the quadbike and then by foot to get to their location, which was over 200m outside the lifeguard patrolled zone. The first man had not ventured too far onto the rocks so Matthew swiftly assisted him back to safety and then turned his attention to the second man.

At this point Matthew could not see the second man so he made his way back across the rocks with his rescue tube to locate him. He came across the young man in the water trying to get across to the sea pool, with white water hitting him as he did so. Matthew manoeuvred closer and pulled him from the water. He had only been a mere 30m away from the danger of the sea pool, where 1.2-1.8m waves were breaking.

It became apparent upon their return to the beach that a panicked relative had been concerned about them trying to get to the pool and they were certainly all thankful for the help of the RNLI. Both men suffered no injuries, though the younger man was shaken up from the experience.

Matthew, in his fifth season as an RNLI lifeguard, said: ‘The men involved in this incident were unaware that the tide was coming in as they were crossing the rocks. Fortunately this was the first day of extended hours for the summer holidays so we were will still patrolling the beach. If lifeguards weren’t there, the situation could have been much different for these two men.’

Drustan Ward, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘We are operating extended patrol hours on some beaches over the busy summer period and we would always advise you to visit an RNLI lifeguarded beach, swimming only between the red and yellow flags. We’d also encourage you to speak to our lifeguards when you arrive to find out about the tide times to help you avoid being cut off. The RNLI’s advice as part of our Respect the Water campaign is that if you see someone in trouble in the water, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.’

You can find out more about how to avoid being cut off by the tide at RNLI. org/safety/know-the-risks/tides.

Notes to editors

  • Porthtowan beach is operating extended patrol hours over the summer until 3 September. RNLI lifeguards will be on patrol from 10am-7pm.
  • The enclosed photos are of RNLI lifeguard Matthew Trewhella with the rescue board (Credit Joseph Hollister), Senior RNLI lifeguard Deshko Matthews (Credit RNLI/Drustan Ward) and RNLI lifeguard Matthew Trewhella (Credit RNLI/Lee Griffin).
  • The RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, is part of the charity’s work to halve coastal drownings by 2024. The theme of the campaign is: ‘Fight your instincts, not the water.’ It reminds people of the risks but, most importantly, provides them with the skills to survive for longer if they unexpectedly find themselves in water, and the knowledge of what to do should they see someone else in danger. The RNLI is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find safety advice.

RNLI media contacts

For further information, please contact Jade Dyer, Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854485 or email Jade_Dyer@rnli.org.uk.

RNLI/Drustan Ward

Senior RNLI lifeguard Deshko Matthews.

RNLI/Lee Griffin

RNLI lifeguard Matthew Trewhella.

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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland

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