RNLI Whitby lifeguards rescue 12 after flash rip appears

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI lifeguard team at Whitby beach had a busy day rescuing 12 people after a series of flash rips appeared on Saturday 28 August.

Four people stand in front of a brick wall. The ones in the middle are slightly further back than the people at the side. They are all in yellow lifeguard tops and red shorts with walkie talkies. However, the second person is wearing a wetsuit with a red RNLI top over it. On the wall, a yellow sign says lifeguards.

RNLI/Derry Salter

RNLI lifeguards Ben Garrett, Ben Graham, Ben Botham and Agustin Lanzavecchia

With a patch of good weather hitting Whitby beach at around 12pm, Senior Lifeguard Agustin Lanzavecchia was patrolling the water between the red and yellow flags when he spotted a flash rip. The charity’s lifeguard went to the assistance of a surfer who was dragged into the rip and couldn’t hold onto their surfboard.

Agustin returned the casualty to shore safely using the rescue board. He remained in the water throughout the day and rescued six further casualties on the rescue board with the assistance of fellow lifeguard Ben Graham.

Ben Botham and Ben Garrett of the RNLI Whitby lifeguard team remained on the beach to administer any necessary medical care to the casualties. Luckily, none of the seven stuck in the rip sustained any injuries.

At around 4pm, the lifeguard team rescued five swimmers after a flash rip current appeared next to Whitby pier just over 1km from the lifeguard unit. Agustin took control of the rescue water craft and returned all five casualties to shore safely.

Ben Garrett arrived in the lifeguard truck to transport the casualties back to the unit for medical assessments. Again, none of the casualties required any further medical care.

Lead Lifeguard Supervisor James Turner congratulated his team’s efforts and warned of the dangers of rip currents: ‘Flash rips are unpredictable and appear without warning. If you find yourself stuck in a rip current, do not try and fight it. Instead stay calm and call for help.

By visiting a lifeguarded beach and swimming between the red and yellow flags, it ensures that a lifeguarded will be on hand to help you if you find yourself in any trouble.’

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 Whitby lifeguard service has been operating since 2001. To learn more about the lifeguarded beach go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches/whitby-beach

Lead Lifeguard Supervisor James Turner is available for interview.

Photo Credit

RNLI/Derry Salter

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For more information please contact Derry Salter, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on: 07929 673281 or email: derry_salter@rnli.org.uk

Or, the RNLI Press Office available 24/7 on 01202 336789 PressOffice@rnli.org.uk


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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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