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RNLI Wells lifeboat assists family members reported as being swept out to sea

Lifeboats News Release

Wells D Class lifeboat was paged by HM Coastguard at 12.06pm on Monday 26 July to go to the assistance of three people reported as being swept out to sea in the approaches to Burnham Overy Harbour as the tide was going out.

D Class lifeboat with three crew members speeding across the sea

RNLI/Ray West

Wells RNLI volunteer crew go to the assistance of family members reported being swept out to sea

The Wells inshore lifeboat, with volunteer crew of three, launched outside the boathouse at 12.15pm on the ebbing tide and headed down the harbour channel towards Burnham Overy.

In the meantime, a sailing boat in the vicinity had managed to pick up two people out of the water. The lifeboat arrived on scene at Burnham Overy Harbour entrance at 12.26pm and went alongside the sailing boat to pick up the two rescued swimmers, a father and son. Having established they needed no medical attention and they were safe and well, the inshore lifeboat headed to the shore at Gun Hill where other family members were located, arriving at 12.30pm. Further concerns were for the whereabouts of another member of the family who had also entered the water to aid the two swimmers; however, it was soon learnt that he had already returned to the safety of the shore.

The lifeboat crew remained with the family group until the local Coastguard team arrived on scene.

When all was well, the inshore lifeboat left at 12.50pm and returned via the harbour channel to the lifeboat house on the last of the ebbing tide. It was ashore at 1.03pm; sanitised, rehoused, refuelled and back on service at 1.40pm.

RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said 'This is the second incident of this nature within the last week. It isn't safe to swim in the channel on an ebbing tide; the current can be extremely strong and even the greatest of swimmers can find themselves in danger.

'If people see someone in difficulty we urge them not to enter the water to attempt to rescue them, instead they should shout for a lifeguard if there is one nearby, or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

This could have been a very serious situation, so I am pleased that there was a successful outcome on this occasion.'

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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