RNLI renew calls to heed warnings after major incident in Cornwall

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards patrolling Gwithian beach in Cornwall were among many emergency services who responded to a major incident involving nine people who’d been swept into the sea by surging waves.

Among the emergency services were colleagues from St Ives RNLI lifeboat, Portreath Coastguard Rescue Team, Cornwall Air Ambulance, South West Ambulance Service and Coastguard helicopter Rescue 194.

The incident has led the RNLI to renew its safety messages for those visiting the coast over the next few days to stay well back from the water’s edge to avoid being caught out.

The lifeguards were alerted to the incident by Falmouth Coastguard and responded immediately from neighbouring Gwithian where they had been flying the red flag all day due to the heavy swell and surging waves.

Barney Stevens launched the Rescue Water Craft through the huge breaking surf while another four lifeguards made their way quickly by land.

On arrival all nine casualties were out of the water. The lifeguards worked with the Coastguard to triage and treat the casualties who had a range of injuries from cuts and bruises to water inhalation, before handing over to the ambulance service

St Ives RNLI lifeboat crew had left work and home to respond to the emergency and launched the all weather lifeboat, making their way through huge seas to the scene. Thankfully all casualties were ashore and after standing by to ensure everyone was safe, the crew were stood down and returned to station.

Tom Mansell, RNLI Lead Lifesaving Manager said;

‘We have been experiencing massive swell hitting the coast and there have been a huge number of interventions made by lifeguards to keep the public safe.

This was a fantastic multi agency effort which included our colleagues in the emergency services as well as many members of the public.

These conditions are likely to continue for the next couple of days and we’re urge anyone visiting the beach or the coastline to stand well back from the sea with large surges of water caused by the swell catching people out.

Footage from RNLI lifeguards patrolling Treyarnon beach in Cornwall show how a powerful surge swept walkers off their feet. Thankfully everyone was ok, but it illustrates how quickly the sea can catch you out.’

Notes to Editors

· Please see attached photos of the incident at Top Cove, credit Sam Hughes

· To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate

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

Sam Hughes

Incident involving 9 people swept off rocks at Top Cove

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.