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RNLI lifeguards across the south west deal with multiple significant incidents

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards in the south west have dealt with multiple incidents over the last week including a major first aid, two people caught in a rip current and a family of four on stand-up paddleboards trapped on an island.

RNLI/Luke Prokopiou

Sedgewell RNLI lifeguards
With the summer upon us, the charity is urging visitors to the coast to always choose a lifeguarded beach and heed safety advice.

On Friday evening (17 June) Porthtowan RNLI lifeguards had packed up for the day and were attending a training session on the beach using the in-shore rescue boat (IRB). At about 6:30pm, the off-duty lifeguards and a member of the local surf lifesaving club were approached by a member of the public informing them that there were two swimmers a significant distance out to sea and their family was beginning to worry.

Shortly after the lifeguards had been approached, the swimmers started waving towards the shore for assistance and appeared to be caught in a rip current. The IRB was immediately launched with two off-duty lifeguards on board and proceeded towards the swimmers. When the IRB arrived at the scene, the pair were quickly pulled from the water and made comfortable on the rescue boat. They were exhausted and appeared very shaken up by the whole event. The pair were quickly returned to shore and reunited with their family. St. Agnes Cliff Rescue Team and in-shore lifeboat also arrived on scene and communicated with the lifeguards following the rescue.

On Saturday (18 June) Newquay RNLI lifeguards were alerted to an incident at Towan beach involving somebody who had sustained an injury whilst surfing. They were spotted stepping off their surfboard into very shallow water and appeared to be in a lot of pain having nastily dislocated their ankle. RNLI lifeguards worked together with Newquay Cliff Rescue Team and the critical care team from Cornwall Air Ambulance who arrived via land. Together, they treated the casualty on the beach and were transferred to an ambulance and taken to the nearest hospital.

Also, on Saturday (18 June) Sedgewell RNLI lifeguards were alerted to an incident involving a family of four (two adults, two young children) who were blown out to sea on stand-up paddleboards and left stranded around the back of Burgh island. The family had an aqua pack carrying a mobile phone so luckily they were able to phone 999 and ask for the Coastguard who could then task the lifeguards and nearby independent lifeboat at Hope Cove to their aid.

RNLI lead lifeguard supervisor, Rob Stuteley says:

‘The incident at Sedgewell highlights just how important it is to always carry a means of calling for help and to know what to do if you find yourself caught in a difficult situation. Having the aqua pack protected their device from any water and meant that they were able to contact the coastguard who could then communicate with the lifeguards and lifeboat. Sedgewell lifeguards launched the IRB and safely returned the family to Challaborough beach.’

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 photos of Sedgewell lifeguards, Porthtowan lifeguards and Newquay lifeguards – credit RNLI

- To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, please visit:

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 [email protected]. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected].

RNLI/Mark Priem

Towan RNLI lifeguards and HM Coastguard

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.