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RNLI Whitley Bay North lifeguards help a mother and child

Lifeguards News Release

At around midday on Sunday 10 July, the lifeguard team at Whitley Bay North assisted a mother and child who were caught in a flash rip.

RNLI/Derry Salter

The red and yellow flags indicate where the lifeguards patrol.

At 12:15pm, Lifeguard Supervisor Andy Choumanidis was patrolling Whitley Bay North beach when he observed a woman and small child struggling in the water. The experienced lifeguard signalled to the duo, however, the mother did not respond.

Andy quickly entered the water alongside a rescue board, where he found the mother struggling against the rip. She had been swimming alongside her four-year-old child when a flash rip appeared, leaving them stuck out at sea.

Luckily, the mother was a strong swimmer and the charity’s Lifeguard Supervisor quickly returned them both to shore. Both mother and child were in good condition and required no medical attention.

Lifeguard Supervisor Andy Choumanidis praised the mother for staying safe around the water: ‘It was great that the child was decked out in appropriate gear, with a toe float and a wetsuit. By choosing a lifeguarded beach, the mother ensured we’d quickly be able to spot her and her child if they found themselves in any trouble.

'Flash rips are unpredictable and can quickly appear, leaving you struggling against the water. If you find yourself stuck in a rip, follow our Float to Live advice.’

If you find yourself struggling in the water, follow the Float to Live advice:

· Fight your instinct to thrash around

· Lean back, extend your arms and legs

· If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to float

· Float until you can control your breathing

· Only then call for help or swim to safety

For more information on how to stay safe this summer, please visit: RNLI Beach Safety – Top Five Tips To Stay Safe By The Sea

Notes to editors

RNLI Whitley Bay North lifeguard service has been operating since 2001. To learn more about the lifeguarded beach go to: Whitley Bay North Beach - Lifeguarded beaches (

Lifeguard Supervisor Andy Choumanidis is available for interview.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Derry Salter, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on: 07890 402106 or email: [email protected]

Or, the RNLI Press Office available 24/7 on: 01202 336789 or email: [email protected]

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.