'You only just got us in time' - Seahouses crew rescue 'exhausted' swimmers

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI Seahouses launched both boats to the rescue of three swimmers off Bamburgh Castle yesterday,

RNLI/Ian Clayton

RNLI Seahouses All-weather Lifeboat 'Grace Darling'
The rescue formed part of a busy day for the volunteer crew, which was called out three times.

At 4.15pm the first call came from UK Coastguard. Local Coastguard units had responded to a report of a paddle boarder in difficulty at the north end of Beadnell Bay. The coastguards reported what seemed to be a kayaker in difficulty. The Inshore Lifeboat was requested and launched, On arrival at Beadnell. The casualty was found to be a paddle boarder fishing. He had been paddling in and out from the shore, and had possibly given the impression of being unable to return to shore. He did not require assistance, and the Inshore Lifeboat left him to continue fishing. A false alarm with good intent.

At 6.15pm, UK Coastguard again paged Seahouses Lifeboats, requesting the launch of both the Inshore and All Weather Lifeboats, to a report of three missing swimmers between Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands. Both lifeboats launched and were quickly on scene. Local Coastguards on the shore again guided the Lifeboats to the casualties and the Inshore Lifeboat located three male swimmers who were well offshore. They were very cold, exhausted and one older male was clearly unwell. They did not speak good English, but the younger one told the Lifeboat Crew, “You only just got us in time”.

The Lifeboat took them straight to the shore, where their family and Coastguard Officers were waiting. It transpired that the older male was unwell due to being diabetic. All three were handed into the care of the local Coastguards, These men would not have been able to make it ashore unaided, and could have easily drowned in this incident. They had been carried offshore by strong currents in the area. Two of the men were then taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment for potential hypothermia and secondary drowning.

As the Lifeboats returned to station at 7.28pm, the crew were washing down the Inshore Lifeboat when they saw two swimmers off St Aidans north of the Lifeboat Station. The crew could see that they were swimming towards the shore but also into where there are strong tidal currents. There was concern for their safety, and after constultation with the Coastguard, the Inshore Lifeboat was taken to be re-launched. The two swimmers were then seen to reach shore safely, and the lifeboat launch was cancelled.

Seahouses Lifeboat Operations Manager Ian Clayton added, “It is unusual to get three potential jobs in one day, but this part of the coastline has been very busy today. It is very worrying that people are seemingly unaware that although the sea may appear calm, there are often strong currents that will carry off the unwary, with potentially tragic results. Please treat the sea with respect and caution, and do not exceed your capabilities. The incident today with the male who was diabetic was particulary alarming. We are relieved that we were able to quickly bring the swimmers to safety and hope they have no lasting ill effects from their traumatic experience. If anyone sees someone in difficulty on the coast – do not delay - dial 999 and inform the Coastguard.”

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.

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