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Southwold RNLI Lifeguards assist woman with head injury after being hit by wave

Lifeguards News Release

On Wednesday (15 August) lifeguards of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) were alerted to a woman who had suffered serious head injuries after being hit by large ‘dumping’ waves on Southwold Beach North.

RNLI Lifeguards Hal Tooley, Alice Watson-Flowers, and Natasha Mills (left to right) attended to the woman who had suffered serious head injuries on Wednesday.


RNLI Lifeguards Hal Tooley, Alice Watson-Flowers, and Natasha Mills (left to right) attended to the woman who had suffered serious head injuries on Wednesday.

At around 3pm a young girl raised the alarm to the charity’s lifeguards after her mother was hit by a large wave 100m south of the red and yellow flags.

The woman had been out on a body board when large waves knocked her down and caused serious head injuries as she was hit by her own board and a hard rock. Fortunately, a member of the public was able to get her out of the water.

The incident took place outside of the red and yellow flags; a zone set up by lifeguards to indicate the safest area for swimmers and body boarders, and so was out of their patrol coverage.

Senior RNLI Lifeguard Alice Watson-Flowers immediately went down to assist. Upon arrival, the woman was crouched over on the promenade, and reported feeling sick and dizzy and moments later she started to be sick.

Lifeguard Natasha Mills arrived on the scene with a first responder bag and, due to the seriousness of the casualty’s head injuries, Alice requested support from a second Senior RNLI Lifeguard Hal Tooley, who brought a spinal board to immobilise the woman’s head while they waited for paramedics to arrive.

Two off-duty community first responders were also on the beach and offered their help and support.

The team carried out further casualty care checks and kept the woman warm until the ambulance arrived.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Ted Morgan said: ‘This incident demonstrates incredible communication and team work between the lifeguards, and also with the public, to ensure the woman was comfortable and given the care she needed.

‘We would like to wish her a speedy recovery and hope she feels better soon.

‘This again highlights the importance of swimming between the red and yellow flags as our lifeguards are fully-trained to assess where is safest to swim for both swimmers and body boarders.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Megan McBride, RNLI Media Engagement Placement North East and East, on 07391544363 or at: [email protected]

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.