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RNLI lifeguards rescue casualties caught in powerful rip currents

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at Trevone and neighbouring Harlyn beach in Cornwall rescued a novice surfer who was caught in a strong rip current and being pummelled by breaking waves on Wednesday (29 June). The casualty who was visiting the area returned to thank the lifeguards the following day.

RNLI lifeguards at nearby Porthtowan were also busy and rescued a swimmer caught in a rip current in similar conditions.

RNLI lifeguard Alfie Yates who was on patrol at Trevone beach around lunchtime on Wednesday, spotted the casualty struggling in very challenging sea conditions. Large breaking waves (roughly 4-5 foot) coupled with powerful rip currents caused the casualty to be knocked about and quickly exhausted.

Alfie immediately entered the water on a rescue board and paddled straight towards the casualty whilst requesting, in radio communication with neighbouring lifeguards at Harlyn, for back up and to launch the inshore rescue boat (IRB).

Alfie paddled through the large surf to reach the casualty and kept him calm and steady until the IRB arrived.

RNLI lifeguards Seb Scott-Bray, at the helm of the IRB, and Ollie Lewis responded from Harlyn as quickly as possible and made their way across to Trevone through the heavy conditions. A couple of attempts were made to manoeuvre the boat next to the casualty in order to pick him up safely and secure him in the IRB.

Seb says;

‘The surf was big, about 4-5 foot and really messy conditions which were hard to navigate. There was a strong onshore wind which was making the waves very sporadic and picking a path through was quite difficult. After a couple of attempts, we managed to reach Alfie who was on the rescue board securing the casualty and Ollie pulled him into the boat.

‘He was exhausted by this stage and collapsed into the boat with Ollie. We returned him to the beach where he was given casualty care by the team with the concern that he might have swallowed a lot of water. He was advised to go to the hospital for a thorough check over.

'Thankfully he recovered quickly and it was lovely to see him return to the beach the following day and especially nice that he made the effort to come and thank us for our help.

‘We jumped on this opportunity to give him some safety advice and tips on how to go about learning to surf safely and pleased it hasn’t put him off as he was in the water again the next day!’

On Thursday (30 June) on the same stretch of coastline south of Padstow, Porthtowan RNLI lifeguards were setting up their equipment for the day when they were alerted by a member of the public to a swimmer struggling in the water near some rocks at the north end of the beach. They appeared to be caught in a rip current and were positioned dangerously close to the rocks.

RNLI lifeguard Maddie Squires immediately picked up a rescue board and paddled towards the casualty as quickly as possible, whilst fellow RNLI lifeguard Tom Finlay swam out to the casualty with a rescue tube. When Tom and Maddie arrived at the scene they noticed that the casualty had sustained multiple cuts on their arms and legs and appeared to have a painful shoulder injury.

Tom and Maddie carefully lifted the casualty onto the back of the rescue board and paddled to shore where they both performed casualty care and made sure they were comfortable.

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 Padstow RNLI lifeguards and photo of Porthtowan RNLI lifeguards, credit Drustan Ward

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Becky Bright, RNLI Media Engagement Placement (South West) on 07929 673281 or [email protected] or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager on 07920 818807 or [email protected]. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected].

RNLI/Drustan Ward

Porthtowan RNLI lifeguards Maddie and Tom

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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