Hayling Island RNLI Lifeboat supports the rescue of a non-swimmer in trouble.
A group of young men were enjoying an evening stroll across a sandbank at the western end of Hayling Bay when they found themselves out of their depth in a gully near the shore and one of them could not swim.
A number of people on the shore saw the incident but at first thought the men were larking about, then they realised that what they were witnessing was a young man drowning. Several concerned members of the public made 999 calls and the Coastguard paged the Hayling RNLI Lifeboat for an immediate launch.
The D-Class lifeboat was launched and made speed to the scene. The group of friends had managed to get the casualty ashore but one of the rescuers was also in distress.
The RNLI lifeboat crew carried out their first aid assessments of the two men and found one of them had swallowed a lot of seawater and was slightly hypothermic. They made them comfortable and when the ambulance crew arrived handed them over to be cared for. They were taken to hospital.
One of the members of the public who gave assistance by providing blankets and shelter in their camper van said after the event ‘Luckily everyone lived to tell the tale but it could have easily ended in tragedy. Everyone should respect the water and know your abilities and limits.’
The RNLI would echo this sentiment and add that if you find yourself suddenly in deep water, and suffer cold water shock, when a gasp can make you swallow seawater, don’t panic, try to float on your back for 90 seconds until you are acclimatised and then can make for the shore or call for help.
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.