RNLI lifeguards in north Cornwall rescue 12 people from dangerous situations
Over the last seven days, RNLI lifeguards patrolling the beaches along the north Cornish coast have rescued a total of 12 people caught out by the conditions.
As the peak summer comes to an end and patrols on a number of beaches have now finished, the RNLI is urging beach goers to check their chosen beach has a lifeguard service.
Yesterday evening (3 September) RNLI lifeguards rescued a surfer in difficulty in the strong winds and heavy swell at Perranporth beach.
The incident unfolded at around 5.30pm when a member of the public alerted the lifeguards on duty that a surfer had paddled out at the south corner of the beach towards Droskyn Point and had been quickly washed around the point towards the cliffs.
RNLI lifeguards Tom Cutmore and Rob Nunn were on the waters edge and immediately launched the Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) to begin the search for the surfer. Meanwhile, lifeguard supervisor Sam Chamberlain went via the cliff path to obtain a vantage point and spotted the surfer drifting towards the cliffs, struggling to paddle against the wind and heavy surf to get to safety. Sam relayed the surfer’s location to Tom and Rob, who reached him quickly and pulled him into the IRB.
Sam says; ‘The surfer was extremely lucky that the lifeguards had been informed of his situation as the strong winds and swell were pushing him towards the cliffs, and as the tide was coming in, there would have been no escape.’
On Tuesday last week (28 August) RNLI lifeguards at Holywell Bay rescued a bodyboarder who was near to drowning having been caught in a rip current. RNLI lifeguards Rosalie Longman and Adam Taylor were on patrol at the waters edge at when Rosalie spotted a bodyboarder drifting in and out of a rip current. Rosalie immediately paddled over to the casualty and by the time she reached him, he had abandoned his body board and was struggling to tread water in the one and a half metre swell.
Rosalie pulled the casualty onto her rescue board and signalled to colleague Adam who ran over with another rescue board to assist. Together, Rosalie and Adam moved the casualty further up the beach where they were met by colleague Jago Griffiths with the casualty care kit. Adam completed a casualty care assessment of the bodyboarder and, as he was now unresponsive, decided further assistance was required from Cornwall Air Ambulance.
Using the rescue board as a stretcher, Rosalie, Adam, Jago and colleague Jamie Burnett carried the casualty clear of the surging waves and reassured him. The casualty was then transferred to hospital via land ambulance. He has since been back to thank the lifeguards for their help.
On the same day, at Chapel Porth RNLI lifeguards rescued a family of three who had drifted out of their depth while bodyboarding and later in the week (30 August) completed a mass rescue of seven casualties.
RNLI lifeguards Moss Thomas and Curtis Johnson spotted the family who were drifting out of their depth and beginning to become overwhelmed by the strength of the surf. Thomas immediately entered the water and paddled over to the three casualties on a rescue board, assisted by colleagues Curtis and Connor Barker-Warne. Thomas helped the youngest casualty, who was struggling the most, onto his rescue board and safely back to shore while Curtis and Connor assisted the other two casualties out of the water.
On Thursday, RNLI lifeguards Toby Farnes and Paddy Higgins were on patrol at the waters edge when they spotted a group of seven swimmers being dragged out to sea in a flash rip current.
Paddy immediately paddled over to the casualty furthest away using a rescue board and helped her onto it. RNLI lifeguard Connor Barker-Warne helped one casualty onto his board when he spotted four teenagers beginning to struggle. Gavin Forehead, volunteer helm at St Agnes RNLI who was surfing at the time, took the casualty back to shore on his surf board, allowing Connor to help the four teenagers.
On the beach Toby raised the red flag and then paddled over to Connor on a rescue board. Toby helped one casualty onto his board and back to shore whilst Gavin, fellow local surfer Trevellyan Garland, an ex-RNLI lifeguard, and a member of the public who was bodyboarding each towed a casualty back to shore.
Another local surfer Greg Ward helped a bodyboarder out of the rip and onto Paddy’s rescue board, leaving Toby to assist the final casualty back to shore. In total, the RNLI lifeguards with assistance from local surfers rescued seven casualties from the single rip current.
Drustan Ward, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for the area, said:
‘It’s been a busy week for the lifeguard teams who have dealt with a number of incidents and helped people back to safety in conditions which have become much more challenging and unpredictable. As the peak summer season draws to an end, a number of RNLI lifeguard patrols have finished so we strongly urge anyone visiting the beach to first check whether their chosen beach has an RNLI lifeguard service for September, and if not please consider choosing an alternative beach where lifeguards are still on duty.
‘If you find yourself on a non-lifeguarded beach, be aware of your abilities if you enter the water, check the conditions and make sure someone is watching you from the shore. If you find yourself in difficulty in the sea, fight your instinct to swim, pause, and float on your back until you are able to catch your breath. If you have a bodyboard with you, use it as a floatation device. Then, wave one hand in the air and call for help to attract the attention of the lifeguards or members of the public who can raise the alarm.’
For more RNLI safety advice visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater
Note to editors
- Please find attached three images of the RNLI lifeguards rescue at Perranporth on Monday 3 September credit RNLI
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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, in a normal year, 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.