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Sandhaven RNLI lifeguards rescue three casualties including 12-year-old girl

Lifeguards News Release

On Sunday (1 July) RNLI lifeguards on Sandhaven Beach spotted a young girl struggling to get back to shore against a strong rip current. The situation was compounded when three male swimmers swam across to attempt a rescue.

The photograph shows RNLI lifeguards of Sandhaven Beach Jake Woods, Aaron Curle, Luke Dixon (left to right), who were involved in rescue of three casualties caught in rip current

RNLI/Tom Spencer

The photograph shows RNLI lifeguards of Sandhaven Beach Jake Woods, Aaron Curle, Luke Dixon (left to right), who were involved in rescue of three casualties caught in rip current

At 2:20pm RNLI lifeguard Luke Dixon noticed the 12-year-old girl was caught in a rip current and immediately launched the rescue board to assist. During that time, three male swimmers tried to get to her but were soon caught up in the current themselves.

The young girl was 30 metres out to sea from Sandhaven Beach and had swam outside of the red and yellow flags, which are marked based on where is safer to swim in the current conditions.

The swimmers were enjoying the heatwave, but with slight on shore winds and 1m swells, it was only a matter of seconds before the four swimmers had been pulled 100 metres out to sea by the rip current.

Two more of the charity’s lifeguards, Tom Spencer and Aaron Curle, swam out with a rescue tube (a long flexible yellow tube that people can grab onto) and rescue board to assist the three casualties. Thankfully one of the male swimmers had already managed to swim out of the rip current to safety.

The lifeguards were able to secure the casualties onto their rescue boards, with one swimmer supported by the rescue tube, and towed back to the beach.

Once back on shore, each of the casualties were treated for cold water shock by the RNLI’s first-aid trained lifeguards, however the girl required further medical attention after taking in a lot of water and was taken to hospital.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Alex Richardson, said: ‘Rip currents are incredibly dangerous and a major cause of accidental drowning in the UK. We urge that if anybody spots somebody in difficulty, please do not attempt to rescue them. It is always best to signal a lifeguard immediately.

‘We advise everybody to visit a lifeguarded beach and to always swim between the red and yellow flags, this way our lifeguards can quickly identify anyone in trouble in the water and be on hand to help.’

Rips are strong currents running out to sea, which can quickly drag people away from the shallows of the shoreline and out to deeper water. Rip currents can be difficult to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea's surface.

If you get caught in a rip current, the RNLI’s advice is to:

· Stay calm

· Float on your back to regulate your breathing until you can swim to shore or call for help

· If you can stand, wade, don’t swim

· Keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float

· Raise your hand and shout for help

· Never try to swim directly against the rip or you'll get exhausted

· Swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore.

NOTES TO EDITORS

RNLI lifeguard patrols operate between 10am-6pm daily, however some areas can have slightly different times, or weekend schedules. The RNLI urges the public to make sure that they are heading to a lifeguarded beach, by visiting: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

RNLI Picture caption

The photograph shows RNLI lifeguards of Sandhaven Beach Jake Woods, Aaron Curle, Luke Dixon (left to right), who were involved in rescue of three casualties caught in rip current. Credit: RNLI/Tom Spencer

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Megan McBride, RNLI Media Engagement Placement North East and East, on 0191 536 9158 or at: megan_mcbride@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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