RNLI lifeguards rescue swimmer caught in powerful rip

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards in Cornwall saved a swimmer caught in a strong rip current at Freathy beach on Wednesday (3 August).

RNLI lifeguard Ben Walden, who was stationed at neighbouring Sharrow beach on Wednesday afternoon, spotted the casualty struggling in a strong rip current.

Ben immediately informed RNLI colleagues stationed at Tregonhawke beach, who made their way round to the swimmer using the lifeguard’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and the inshore rescue boat (IRB).

First to arrive on scene using the ATV was Senior Lifeguard Terry Dungay, who saw the swimmer waving for help and then floating on their back as they waited for help to arrive. Terry swam out to reach the casualty and kept him steady using a rescue tube until the IRB arrived.

RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor Charlie Gillett, at the helm of the IRB, and Lifeguard Supervisor Beau Gillett then made their way into the strong current in order to pick the casualty up safely and bring him back to shore in the IRB. From boat launch to the swimmer being safely recovered was just 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Charlie says;

‘Strong currents like this can catch anyone out. The swimmer did the right thing by remaining calm and floating after they had signalled for help, but it was clear that they were not going to be able to get themselves out of the rip.

‘My team worked together incredibly to ensure they were brought to safety as quickly as possible, as well as taking the time afterwards to warn other members of the public on the beach about the dangerous conditions.’

The RNLI is urging anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice:

· Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

· Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.

· Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone.

· 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 999/112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Notes to editors

- Please see attached lifeguard video rescue footage, credit Tregonhawke RNLI lifeguards

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For more information please contact Emily Hazard, Regional Media Officer on 07866 064437 or [email protected] or Becky Bright, RNLI Media Engagement Placement (South West) on 07929 673281 or [email protected] Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected].

RNLI/Tregonhawke RNLI lifeguards

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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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