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Off-duty RNLI lifeguard rescues mother and child at Sennen Cove

Lifeboats News Release

A mother and child were rescued after RNLI lifeguard patrol hours at Sennen Cove last night (Wednesday 15 August) after getting into difficulty in a rip current.

RNLI lifeguard Matthew Szlitchta had just finished his lifeguard patrols at Sennen Cove and was in a local beach café with the rest of the lifeguard team when they spotted the pair in difficulty at around 6.30pm.

The boy, aged around 10 years old, was on a bodyboard when he got caught in a rip current. The child’s mother had entered the water and was attempting to get them back to shore but was quickly becoming exhausted in the strong six foot surf.

Matthew immediately ran down to the waters edge and, using a borrowed surfboard, paddled over to the scene. The child had managed to make it back ashore, so Matt helped the lady back to safety, and also gave advice to other people in the water about the conditions.

Off duty lifeguards Tarryn Brown Ali Manly, Josh Magin and Stef Harkon were also on scene and assisted.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Tim Palmer said: ‘We’re all very grateful to the lifeguards for going above and beyond and showing that a lifeguard is never off duty. The beach had been red flagged from 5pm to 6pm due to the dangerous conditions.

‘We’re expecting large surf and challenging conditions for the remainder of the week so we strongly urge people to visit a lifeguarded beach during patrol hours of 10am to 6pm, swim between the flags and follow the lifeguard – they are well-trained and experts on the local conditions so please listen to the advice they give.’

Notes to Editor

  • RNLI lifeguards patrol over 249 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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