Dad battles to keep daughter’s head above water in dramatic mass rescue

Lifeboats News Release

Eight people were rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), including a five-year-old girl whose family were chest deep in water after being cut off by the sea.

The dramatic rescue, captured on film, happened off the coast of Wirral, with the child’s father telling West Kirby lifeboat crew he was struggling to keep her head above the rapidly rising water.

Emergency services were alerted by a dog walker, who herself was stranded on Middle Hilbre by the higher than normal incoming tide.

But during her 999 call on Tuesday (22 September) afternoon she spotted a family of five who were also in trouble along a ridge of nearby rocks.

The lifeboat crew went to the family first with one of the volunteer crew entering the water to look after the grandmother and aunt, while the D class inshore lifeboat went to the aid of the child and her parents.

After collecting all the remaining family members, who were on holiday in the UK from abroad, the lifeboat crew then picked up the woman, her dog and another man and women, who were also stranded.

No one needed hospital treatment although some required attention at the scene for the effects of hypothermia.

Richard Diamond, West Kirby RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Getting cut off by the tide can be a frightening experience.

‘There was still 1m to go until high tide so too much longer and they could have all been struggling to stay above the water.

‘We would remind people to check the tidal information before setting out and to take appropriate clothing.

‘If you see someone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

If you are planning a visit to the coast, please follow this safety advice to be beach safe:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone
  • Don’t use inflatables
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard

RNLI lifeboat crews have been operating throughout the pandemic and continue to be on call 24/7 ready to respond to emergencies when their pager goes off.

Notes to editors:

  • Interviews are available via phone, Skype, or Microsoft Teams.
  • The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and Ireland, and they continue to launch to those in peril at sea.
  • To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to:
  • For details of which beaches have RNLI lifeguard patrols in September and October, go to
  • For more information, please contact the RNLI press office on 01202 336789 or email [email protected]
Mum, daughter and dad pose with a member of the West Kirby volunteer crew

David Edwards

A relieved mum, daughter and dad following their rescue
West Kirby crew wearing their PPE

David Edwards

West Kirby crew wearing PPE

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 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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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.