Camber Lifeguards race to the rescue of injured Kite-surfer

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeguards based at Camber Sands, in East Sussex, faced a race against time after a kite-surfer was seriously injured when one of his lines snapped and his kite spiralled out of control slamming him into the ground several times.

RNLI lifeguard Leon Driver on the scene with the injured man being treated by paramedics.

RNLI/Nathan Wilmer

RNLI lifeguard Leon Driver on the scene with the injured man being treated by paramedics.

The impact was so severe the man was unable to move and was trapped just feet from the water's edge with the tide coming in fast. Alerted by a local kite surfing school, at 4.40pm on Thursday 3 August, lifeguards Brett Wood and Leon Driver raced to the scene, about one kilometre to the east of them, in an RNLI patrol vehicle.

When they arrived, they discovered the casualty, a man in his forties, conscious and alert but complaining of lower back and hip pain. With the tide almost upon him, the lifeguards had no choice but to put the man on a spinal board, designed for people with back injuries, and evacuate him further up the beach.

They were then able to put their world-class casualty care training into effect and assess the man for possible spinal injuries. Paramedics arrived on the scene about 15 minutes later and the man was carried off the beach on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance. On examination at hospital it was found that the man had broken his pelvis.

‘This is exactly the kind of situation we base our training exercises on,’ said RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Nathan Wilmer. ‘There were four or five people at the scene who didn’t know what to do and our lifeguard team got a grip on the situation.’

‘With the in-coming tide the lifeguards had to move him quickly, it’s life over limb at the end of the day in that situation,’ Nathan added. ‘They used their training to the full and dealt with this incident very professionally'.

Brett, 18, from Australia and Leon, also 18, from Hastings, are part of a team of RNLI coastguards who are patrolling Camber Sands for the first time this year. Leon is in his very first season with the RNLI.

RNLI lifeguards currently patrol more than 240 beaches in the UK and Channel Islands and last year saved 127 lives. As well as rescuing people from the water they also receive extensive training in responding to medical emergencies. In total the charity’s lifeguards attended 17,414 incidents last year helping 20,538 people.

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RNLI lifeguards Brett Wood (nearest to camera) and Leon Driver stay with the casualty until he is taken to hospital.

RNLI/Nathan Wilmer

RNLI lifeguards Brett Wood (nearest to camera) and Leon Driver stay with the casualty until he is taken to hospital.

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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 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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