RNLI Longsands lifeguards rescue 23 people
The lifeguard team at Longsands beach faced a busy day after a flash rip appeared in the centre of the beach on Saturday 28 August.
At around midday, Senior Lifeguard Isaac Noble was patrolling the water when he noticed a swimmer stuck in a rip current that had formed in the middle of the beach. Whilst rescuing the swimmer on his rescue board, three surfers then drifted into the rip. Senior RNLI Lifeguard Will Hogg blamed the bad weather conditions and strong offshore wind for the continuous issues occurring in the rip.
The Longsands team immediately launched the inshore rescue boat (IRB) to pick up two surfers who were outside of the black and white flagged zone and had drifted into the rip. Whilst returning the surfers to shore, Andrew Choumanidis and Isaac noticed that a further three had drifted out of the surf zone and into the rip.
All casualties that were returned to shore received safety advice about surfing between the black and white flagged zones, so the team returned the IRB to shore. However, only five minutes later, Seniors Will and Isaac relaunched the boat to assist two further surfers from the rip current. The IRB was again returned to shore.
Will decided to patrol the beach and direct surfers away from the rip current and advise them to surf in the zone for watercrafts. Almost immediately, two surfers became too close to the rip as they were rather inexperienced and became trapped. The charity’s lifeguard gave the surfers key advice to swim parallel to the shore to escape the rip.
At the same time, a bodyboarder and surfer became caught in the same rip current. As the IRB was moored, Will urgently swam to the two casualties with the assistance of Isaac on the rescue board. However, at the same time more surfers were pulled into the rip so Andy and fellow lifeguard Ben Tucker relaunched the IRB.
With Will swimming, Andy and Ben on the boat, and Isaac on the rescue board, the Longsands team were pretty stretched. Longsands North Senior Lifeguard Daniel Allott ran to the site of the rip and entered the water in a rescue board. The team of five pulled out at least seven people in one rescue.
Isaac and Will remained in the IRB for the rest of the day and rescued a snorkeler at the South end of Longsands beach near the end of the day. The snorkeler was fighting against the rip for about three minutes before he was returned to shore. Luckily, none of the 23 casualties sustained any injuries so medical care was not needed.
Lead RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Sean Mills congratulated his team’s brilliant work: ‘It was great that all of the surfers held onto their boards. If you find yourself in a rip current, hold onto your flotation device. If you do not have one, lean back and Float to Live.
Although our lifeguard team did an excellent job rescuing 23 people, it is essential that beach goers follow our safety advice and listen to our lifeguards who have the best knowledge to keep you safe.
If you find yourself stuck in a rip current, follow our Float to Live advice:
· Fight your instinct to thrash around
· Lean back, extend your arms and legs
· If you need to gently move them around to help you float
· Float until you can control your breathing
· Only then call for help or swim to safety
For more information please visit: https://rnli.org/safety/know-the-risks/rip-currents
Notes to editors
RNLI Longsands lifeguard service has been operating since 2001. To learn more about the lifeguarded beach go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches/tynemouth-longsands-beach
Lead Lifeguard Supervisor Sean Mills is available for interview.
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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.