Sandbanks RNLI lifeguards rescue man spotted lying facedown in the water

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at Sandbanks in Poole have rescued a swimmer who was spotted floating face down in the water about 20 metres from shore.

An RNLI Rescue Water Craft (RWC) being used in Dorset


An RNLI Rescue Water Craft (RWC) being used in Dorset

Lifeguard George Clowes was keeping watch over the beach from his lifeguard tower at around 3.00pm yesterday afternoon (June 24) when he saw two men in the rip current by the groyne. One was lying facedown and unconscious in the water and a second man was scrambling onto a rocky groyne and clearly in distress.

After raising the alarm, George took to the water with his rescue tube, while RNLI lifeguard Andrew Bufton jetted to the scene on his rescue water craft (also known as a jetski).

Arriving at the scene, Andrew found the man unconscious, but breathing. Assisted by George, who swam out to the casualty, the man was pulled onto the rescue board at the rear of the water rescue craft and taken to the shore where other RNLI lifeguards on the scene gave assistance.

Meanwhile a third RNLI lifeguard, Greg Lang, took to the water with his rescue tube and swam out to save the second man who was clinging onto the groyne at an unsafe location and calling out urgently for help. Using his world-class RNLI training, Greg was able to encourage the man to let go of the rocks and brought him to the shore.

RNLI lifeguards - wearing PPE - put the first man who was rescued into the recovery position. He responded well and was placed in the care of the ambulance service who were quickly on the scene and he was taken to hospital. The second man suffered cuts and bruises and was shaken up by the incident.

The incident took place at the second groyne west of Sandbanks next to the BBQ area.

Lifeguard duty supervisor Steve Chizlett, praised the quick-thinking of the lifeguards, stating that in this situation, with a casualty facedown in the water, another minute could have seen a fatality at the beach.

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Seb Pinkard urged people to take extra care when visiting the coast during the hot weather:

‘We continue to see unprecedented numbers of people taking to the coast during this recent hot spell. With the beaches so crowded and with social distancing in place our lifeguards are working as hard as they can to keep everybody safe, but they can’t be everywhere’.

‘We would urge people to read as much safety advice as possible before they arrive at the beach, make sure if they do swim they do so between the red and yellow flags, if those are in place, and make sure they are aware of local conditions and tide timetables’.

‘This incident could so easily have ended in a tragic loss of life had not one of our lifeguards, who are watching over packed beaches, spotted these two people who were in danger’, he added.

RNLI Media Contacts:

· Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer, London and South East,, 07785 296252

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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 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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