Swimmer in difficulties at Southport rescued by 16-year-old RNLI lifeguard
A 16-year-old RNLI lifeguard saved a man’s life at Southport last night (Tuesday 18 July) when he swam 200 metres out to sea, recovered the struggling swimmer onto a rescue board and brought him back to the beach.
The incident happened near Southport Pier at 6pm, just after the lifeguards had carried out their last patrols. The Coastguard received a call to say a man was in difficulties in the water. The RNLI lifeguards were alerted, along with Southport Lifeboat and the local coastguard team.
RNLI Lifeguard Matthew Johnson, who started work with the lifesaving charity less than two weeks ago, swam out to rescue the man.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Richard Goodacre said: ‘Matthew is a very strong swimmer and made swift work of reaching the man, even though he was about 200 metres out from the beach. A second lifeguard, Kieran Leith, assisted him to bring the casualty back to the beach, where members of the Southport Lifeboat team also helped with the recovery.
‘The man was handed over to paramedics on the beach and transferred to hospital by ambulance.’
‘Matthew did a brilliant job on his first major rescue and we are very proud of him. Until recently he was studying for his AS levels at Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby, but the training he has received from the RNLI made sure he was able to rescue the man and bring him safely back to shore.’
* Respect the Water, the charity’s national drowning prevention campaign, is encouraging people to fight their instincts to thrash around or swim if they get into difficulties in the sea. Instead, float and rest for 60-90 seconds until cold water shock passes. This allows time to catch your breath before trying to swim to safety or call for help.
For more information, contact Alison Levett, RNLI PR Manager, on 07786 668912 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The multi-agency response to the incident included RNLI lifeguards, Southport lifeboat, coastguards and paramedics. Credit Southport Lifeboat.
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.