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Surfer rescued by RNLI lifeguards returns to Perranporth to say thank you

Lifeboats News Release

Charlotte Ginn, a holiday maker from Cambridge returned to Perranporth beach yesterday (3 July) to say thank you to the RNLI lifeguards who rescued her from the water earlier in the day.

Charlotte, who turns 20 on Saturday, is on holiday with her family before flying to Australia for a year of travelling on Sunday. She was surfing with her Dad and sister on Wednesday morning when she experienced a black out in the water. She says;

‘I can only remember being in the water, and not being able to move my arms or legs, the next thing I recall is coming around to find all these people surrounding me.

‘The lifeguards knew exactly what to do and are thankfully fully trained to deal with situations like that. I am so pleased and grateful for their help, along with everyone else who was involved.’

RNLI lifeguards Tom Cutmore and Luke Simmonds responded to the incident which happened at about 11.30am between the black and white flagged surfing area of the beach.

They reached Charlotte who was in waist depth water, unconscious but breathing and carried out initial assessments. She had been surfing in 1-2-foot waves in the shallow water, and due to the possibility that she had knocked her head, the lifeguards treated her for a suspected spinal injury.

They were helped by a couple of local surf instructors and three members of the public to safely immobilise and extract her from the water.

With the Cornwall Air Ambulance on its way, the lifeguards called for back-up from their colleagues at Perran Sands beach, who closed their flagged area to respond. They were also joined by the volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew at St Agnes and St Agnes Coastguard Team.

On the beach, Charlotte regained consciousness and lifeguards carried out further assessments before the Air Ambulance paramedic arrived.

The emergency service teams cleared a safe exclusion zone on the beach for the Cornwall Air Ambulance, while their colleagues carried the casualty and medical equipment to the helicopter which transferred her to Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

Charlotte was later discharged. She says;

‘We’re still not sure what happened but I am so pleased I was at a beach with lifeguards, my Dad said that the help and support arrived so quickly, if they hadn’t been there, it would have been so much worse.’

Anton Page, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor said;

‘The incident was a great example of teamwork by all the emergency services who worked extremely well together to get Charlotte out of the water and the medical attention she needed.

‘It’s been an extremely busy week for all our emergency services in the south west and its fortunate that this incident happened on a beach with lifeguards who could respond immediately. The lifeguards were so pleased to see her return to the beach looking fit and healthy.’

For further information and Safety Advice for those considering surfing at the coast, please visit https://rnli.org/safety/choose-your-activity/surfing

Notes to editors

  • Please see the attached photo of Charlotte Ginn (centre) with Dad Adrian Ginn and sister Vicky Ginn, with RNLI lifeguards Luke Simmonds (left) and Tom Cutmore (right)
  • St Agnes RNLI lifeboat crew were: Helm, Gavin Forehead and Crew, Paul Kimberley and Trev Garland

  • RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 07920818807 or amy_caldwell@rnli.org.uk or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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