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Seven rescued in just one day by South East Devon’s RNLI lifeguards

Lifeguards News Release

Challenging conditions, including strong winds and rip currents, resulted in a number of lifesaving rescues by RNLI lifeguards in Teignmouth, Dawlish and Exmouth yesterday (Tuesday 30 May). The warm weather has seen an increase in people visiting the coast since the beginning of the school half term


RNLI Lifeguard on duty

The RNLI is urging people visiting the south coast this week to be aware of the dangerous conditions caused by strong easterly wind conditions.

South East Devon’s RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Jake Butt says; ‘The south coast is typically quite calm and sheltered, however we have been experiencing stronger currents than usual due to strong easterly winds, and as a result, this poses more danger to those who enter the water. We urge everyone to respect the conditions, follow the lifeguard advice and be well prepared for any activity you have planned in the sea.’

At 11am yesterday morning, two girls were dragged out around the rocks in front of the lifeguard unit at Dawlish Beach. An RNLI lifeguard realised the pair were struggling, and paddled around towards them. They had managed to pull themselves up onto the rocks as the lifeguard reached them. They were brought back to shore and given minor first aid after suffering from cuts, as well as some important safety advice.

Following this, at 3pm, on the same beach, two more girls were pulled out by a large set of waves towards the groyne in Dawlish. Both managed to grab hold of the groyne whilst a lifeguard on the water’s edge swam out with a rescue tube. One girl swam towards him, and confident she was a strong swimmer; the lifeguard advised her to swim back to the beach, where he followed with the second girl with the rescue tube. Both casualties were administered minor first aid for cuts and bruises.

On Teignmouth Beach, at approximately 4pm, a girl slipped on top of the beach ramp, fell into the water and was pulled around the point where she drifted towards the beach. Joe Kelly, RNLI lifeguard on duty, swam out with a rescue tube and managed to secure the casualty. On his way back to the beach, Teignmouth RNLI lifeboat arrived on the scene, and the casualty was safely extracted onto the lifeboat. She was transported to the beach and received casualty care from the lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crew.

On the same afternoon in Exmouth, an RNLI lifeguard on the water’s edge witnessed a young girl fall into deep water off the outflow pipe at the beach. Just as he entered the water, the casualty’s friend jumped into the water in an attempt to save her, and subsequently, both found themselves in difficulty. The lifeguard was able to successfully reach the pair and take them back to the beach safety. Both were given an initial assessment and monitored before safety advice was given to their parents.

With the remainder of the week’s forecast predicting strong easterly winds, conditions are expected to remain the same along the south coast. South Devon’s RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Jake Butt says; ‘Our beaches will be just as challenging as they have been these past few days. These incidents all occurred in the short space of a day, and thankfully all casualties walked away with just minor injuries due to the quick response from our lifeguards.

‘I highly recommend people visit a lifeguarded beach this summer, and swim between the red and yellow flags. We recommend that if you get into trouble in the water, ‘Float to Live.’ Tilt your head back with your ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and then call for help or swim to safety if you can. If you are unsure about anything please talk with one of our lifeguards who will give you the appropriate safety advice.’

If you do find yourself caught in a rip:

- Don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted.

- If you can stand, wade don’t swim.

- If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.

- Always raise your hand and shout for help.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Emily Bray, RNLI Media Engagement Placement, at [email protected], or 07929673281 or Emma Haines, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07786 668847 or [email protected];

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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.