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RNLI lifeguards on Crantock rescue a young boy and his sister

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards rescued a six year old boy and his older sister who were drowning at Crantock beach on Sunday (24 June 2018)

The incident happened at around 1.30pm on Sunday afternoon as the tide was coming in.

John Steadman, RNLI lifeguard supervisor says;

‘The river at Crantock flows out parallel to the beach. As the tide comes in, the river starts to fill up behind bathers, leaving a sand bar between the sea and the river. This means bathers have to wade back through the river to return to the main part of the beach.

I was preparing to go out on the rescue board on a roving patrol of the bathing area when I spotted two young children, a brother and sister. I could see they were about to cross the river in the deepest spot, they were about 25 metres away from me and I shouted to warn them not to cross there. Unfortunately they continued to jump in. The younger brother Adam immediately went under the water and his sister, Rachel was trying to keep him up and shouting for help.’

John reacted quickly and jumped in after them. He says;

‘It even deeper than I had anticipated; I couldn’t touch the bottom either and was treading water holding both their heads above the surface until my colleague RNLI lifeguard Mark Ebbage was able to reach us on a rescue board. He pulled them onto the rescue board and paddled them over to the beach where we were joined by their worried parents.

‘It was a very scary experience for both of them; they were lucky that the lifeguards were on patrol and I saw the incident happen in front of me. Rachel, who is only 12 was extremely brave, and did a great job to support her brother and call for help.’

While the incident was unfolding Mark and John’s colleagues, Oliver Oosta, Steven Daley and Luke Cartwright were maintaining safety patrols of the waters edge. The lifeguards checked the children and reunited them with their parents, providing advice on the risk secondary drowning. The family were on holiday from Glasgow and extremely grateful for the lifeguards help.

Dickon Berriman, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager says;

‘After storm damage to the sea wall a few years ago, the River Gannel has diverted to take its natural course and now flows across the beach meaning at low tide bathers must cross the river to reach the sea. It’s also led to the creation of a number of channels and gullies, and at certain states of the tide there are some very powerful rip currents which can easily catch bathers out.

‘The RNLI lifeguards are trained to deal with these dynamic environments and will proactively patrol the area during these times, providing advice to bathers on the dangers and the safest place to swim. They are ready to respond to anyone in difficulty, but we’d also ask bathers be alert, to listen to the lifeguard’s advice, stay between the bathing flags and look out for each other.’

RNLI lifeguards across the south west are dedicated to providing a professional rescue service to those who need it and last year, dealt with 7,962 incidents, assisting 10,080 people.

To find out how you can stay safe while enjoying your water activity, visit RespectTheWater.com

Notes to editors
  • Please see the attached a photo of RNLI lifeguards with the Ferguson family L to R – RNLI lifeguards Oliver Oosta, Steven Daley, Luke Cartwright, Mark Ebbage and John Steadman with Rachel Ferguson, Adam Ferguson and their Dad Craig Ferguson
  • In 2017, RNLI lifeguards across the south west dealt with 7,982 incidents, assisting 10,080 people
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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 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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