Off-duty RNLI lifeguards come to the aid of three people in separate incidents
Off-duty RNLI lifeguards using their skills and training, have come to the aid of three people in separate incidents in recent days both on the Causeway Coast and in County Down.
Following her daily patrol on Downhill Beach last Saturday (6 August) Senior Lifeguard Cara Telfer was enjoying a swim with her family after 7pm when she observed a boy deep in the water about 150m from the shore.
‘When I got out of the sea after our swim’ Cara explained, ‘I said to my dad that I wasn’t happy with the boy being that far out on his own in case he would get into trouble. I could see his mother on the beach waving at him and trying to call him in, so I approached her, explained that I was a lifeguard and asked if her son was a good swimmer. When she said he wasn’t and that she was worried, I told her I would go and get him. I swam in and by this stage the boy was further out and behind the breaking waves, but his head was still above the water. I asked him to hold on to my arm and we swam in until he could stand and then we walked to shore.’
Meanwhile in county Down on Saturday evening, Senior Lifeguard Paddy Murphy had just finished his daily patrol on Tyrella Beach and was driving home when he came on an incident where a man was having a heart attack on the side of the road. Paddy got out of his car and double checked with those gathered that an ambulance had been requested before doing an initial assessment and then administering casualty care and doing constant monitoring until the ambulance arrived.
Then at 4pm on Tuesday (9 August), Lifeguard Supervisor Stuart Montgomery was driving between beaches on the county Down coast when he stopped at Kilkeel Beach to let his dog Stan out to get some water. As he did this, Stuart observed what he thought was a man in difficulty in the water approximately 150-200m from the shore. The man was splashing and scrambling to stay afloat. Stuart immediately swam to his rescue at which point the casualty was going under the water. Having brought the man safely ashore, Stuart then checked to ensure he hadn’t swallowed any water, that he hadn’t hit his head and that there was no one else with him, before the man was able to walk off the beach unaided.
Speaking following the incidents, Regional Lifeguard Lead Michael Thompson commended the lifeguards for using their intuition, skills and training to help others despite being off-duty: ‘I want to commend and thank Cara, Paddy and Stuart who without doubt made a huge difference in all three incidents. Their selfless and courageous efforts despite being off-duty is testament to the dedication of our lifeguard team and it is very reassuring and pleasing to know that their knowledge, skills and training will immediately kick in regardless of time or place when they see someone in difficulty.’
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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