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RNLI Lifeguards at Whitsand Bay attend medical emergency during busy weekend

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards attended a serious medical emergency this weekend on the cliffs at Tregonhawke Beach, along with providing multiple assists, dealing with rubbish disposal issues and treating weever fish injuries.

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A long spell of sunshine meant that the four beaches along Whitsand Bay were incredibly busy, giving rise to many incidents for the lifeguard team to respond to. There were multiple assists given to children who had become trapped in rip currents, and searches were carried out for children who had become lost among the crowds. Weever fish also caused trouble for beachgoers, with lifeguards treating several minor injuries caused by their sting.

On Sunday at 3:30pm, lifeguards were alerted to a medical emergency by the family of a female casualty who had collapsed on their return journey up the cliff path. Upon arrival she was unconscious, with the family informing responders that she was diabetic. Oxygen and gluco gel was administered, with the casualty initially responding, then slipping back in and out of consciousness. Due to her inability to walk, the spinal board was deployed to carry her back down to the beach. She was transferred onto the Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) to be transported around the coast to Tregantle Beach. They were met by the ambulance service, who took control of monitoring the casualty to allow the lifeguards to return to their duties. The rescue lasted for approximately one hour and a half, with lifeguards Joe Bracegirdle, Sean Paddon, Luke Simmonds and Andy Wrennall attending the scene.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Beau Gillett was also on duty at the time and said: ‘Fortunately, we were able to assist the lady and we wish her a speedy recovery. This was one of many incidents that we had to respond to on this hot and sunny weekend. I’d like to take the opportunity to remind beach users to bring plenty of water with you to avoid dehydration and regularly apply sun cream to prevent sunburn. It’s also important to be aware of the dangers of rip currents and to ensure that you know the whereabouts of everyone in your group while at the beach.’

There have also been issues regarding rubbish at the beach, particularly at Tregantle, with beach users leaving behind their waste and burying their disposable BBQs, which poses a danger to members of the public. Beau has issued a plea for beach users to dispose of their waste responsibly, as it’s beginning to obstruct slipway access for RNLI vehicles and will also attract vermin.

He said: ‘If you’re visiting the beach, please bring a spare bag to collect your rubbish and take it home with you. Please don’t bury your metal BBQs, as these can cause the sand to heat up and burn other unaware beach users. Please help us to keep Whitsand Bay a pleasant and safe place for everyone to enjoy.’

RNLI advice for rip currents and beach safety

Rip currents are strong currents running out to sea, which can take you from the shallows very quickly and leave you out of your depth. If you are caught in a rip, stay calm and don’t panic. If you can stand, wade. Don’t try to swim. If you have an inflatable or board, keep hold of it to help you float. Raise your hand and shout for help loudly. Don’t swim directly against the rip or you’ll get exhausted. Swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore. For more information on rip currents, go to www.ripcurrents.co.uk.


Note to editors

  • RNLI lifeguards are on patrol at Tregantle Beach on weekends and bank holidays only between 29 April – 2 July. Daily lifeguard cover will be provided 8 July – 1 October. Patrol times are 10am-6pm.
  • At Tregonhawke Beach, RNLI lifeguards are on the beach daily until 1 October, from 10am-6pm.
  • RNLI lifeguards are also on patrol daily at Sharrow Beach until 1 October, between 10am-6pm. They will also be at Freathy Beach daily between 10am-6pm, from 8 July – 3 September.
  • For more beach safety advice, visit https://rnli.org/safety/beach-safety/beach-safety-advice

RNLI media contacts

For further information, please contact Jade Dyer on 01752 844450 or by emailing jade_dyer@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 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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