RNLI lifeguards and Penybont SLSC's safety call after Ogmore river mouth rescues
RNLI lifeguards and Penybont Surf Lifesaving Club members have issued a safety warning to visitors of a Vale of Glamorgan beach after a series of multiple casualty rescues in a river mouth.
Lifeguards from the RNLI charity and Penybont Surf Lifesaving Club have rescued more than 20 people from the river at Ogmore beach over the last two weekends, including three young children who became stranded on Sunday (2 July).
And now they are warning people about the dangers of swimming in the river mouth area and urging visitors to swim in the safer lifeguarded area between the red and yellow flags.
An area next to the river at Ogmore by Sea, which is usually rocky, has become covered by sand and there have been higher than normal numbers of visitors using this section of the beach to base themselves. Many are being tempted to swim in the river, unaware of the depth of the water or the unpredictable currents running in the water there.
On Sunday (2 July) there were two incidents where three young people got into difficulty after entering the river from the newly formed sandbanks.
RNLI lifeguard Dave Allen first spotted three teenagers enter the river at about 1.30pm. On a flooding tide the current was swirling and despite being close to the edge of the river, none could make it back to shore. Dave immediately entered the water with a rescue tube and brought the weakest swimmer back to shore.
On weekend the RNLI lifeguard service is supported by volunteers from Penybont SLSC and club member Richard Watkins paddled out on a surf rescue board to assist. By this time Dave had safely taken the first girl to shore and was keeping the second afloat with a rescue tube. She was taken onto the surf rescue board and returned to shore. The third teenager – a boy – was able to tread water and was assisted back to shore. All three were checked over and given safety advice.
Then at around 3pm Dave saw a young boy about eight years old take a step off a sandbank into the river with a bodyboard. He was out of his depth and by now the tide was ebbing and the current quickly took him outwards. Dave again entered the water with a rescue tube and quickly reached the struggling child, bringing him back to the safety of the shore.
Meanwhile two more children of similar age, one girl and one boy, stepped off the bank and were immediately in trouble in the deep water of the river. This time Penybont SLSC member Huw Ruddell was on hand to support Dave and paddled a surf rescue board out to the children, who were panicking and using their bodyboards to stay afloat.
All three were returned to shore, made comfortable and checked over by the lifeguards.
The two incidents on Sunday come a week after around 20 other people were rescued from the river mouth by Penybont SLSC members the previous weekend, before the RNLI lifeguard service began.
Ross Gribble, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘The number of people rescued and assisted from the river area at Ogmore by Sea over the last two weekends by both our lifeguards and Penybont SLCS members prove how careful people need to be there.
‘The newly formed sandbanks may look like an inviting spot to swim from, but the river quickly gets deep and has strong and unpredictable currents.
‘Anyone visiting Ogmore by Sea or any of beach with RNLI lifeguards should always swim between the red and yellow flags, which have been identified by lifeguards as the safest place to swim and is supervised by lifeguards at all times.
‘We would also like to thank Penybont SLSC for their support. This weekend’s rescues prove the importance of the partnership in the area.’
Notes to editors:
The attached pictures is a stock image of an RNLI lifeguard in action. 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, 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.