Minehead RNLI lifeboats to the rescue as swan flies away

Lifeboats News Release

Two young holidaymakers carried out to sea on an inflatable were rescued thanks to the rapid intervention by RNLI crews from Minehead.

The station’s Atlantic 85 and D class lifeboats were launched around 3.30pm today (1 June) after the girls, aged five, were swept away from the beach by an offshore wind.

They had been sitting on an inflatable swan held in the shallows by the father of one of them when the line slipped through his hands.

Volunteer lifeboat helm Phil Sanderson said before he had time to react the wind had pushed the inflatable several yards away.

'He waded into the water and tried to swim out to them but the thing was just moving too quickly and he couldn’t get near it,' he said.

'He did exactly the right thing: he shouted to the girls to stay on the inflatable and then the family dialled 999.'

The lifeboats were on scene within a few minutes and were joined by a coastguard helicopter which had been on exercise in the area.

Phil Sanderson said by the time the lifeboats arrived the inflatable was almost half a mile offshore - and still moving rapidly seawards.

'Clearly the girls were very frightened by then but we soon had them aboard and reunited with their family,' he said

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