Dozens of children saved by 'heroic' lifeguards

Three lifeguards were being hailed as heroes today after a dramatic life-saving rescue involving three dozen children and four adults.

The party of 40 were plunged into the cold waters at Tenby, west Wales, after a raised sandbank they were on collapsed into the sea yesterday.



RNLI lifeguards Adam Pitman, Jon Johnson and Coral Lewis were patrolling Tenby South Beach and had already spotted the group before they got into trouble and went into immediate action.



Using nothing more than rescue boards and fluorescent buoyancy aids they ferried everyone to safety.



They then performed first aid on a number of casualties saving lives with their rapid response and professional action, rescue chiefs said.



Dave Miller, Coastguard Sector Manager in South Pembrokeshire, said: "The three RNLI lifeguards did a superb job today.



"If not for their fast response times and the methods they used at the scene, lives would have been lost."



The rescue happened at 4pm at a sandbank known locally as the White Back at the right side of the beach outside the red and yellow flag zone.



At the time, the group of children and adults was making its way back to the shore after receiving a warning from one of the lifeguards.



An RNLI spokesman said: "The (group was) walking along the long sandbank which as the tide comes in liquefies and gets swept away.



"They found themselves in the sea becoming out of their depth in what are treacherous waters."



Two casualties were treated at the scene, one who was suffering an asthma attack and the other who had suspected secondary drowning.



The spokesman added: "As well as the RNLI lifeguards and Coastguard, the air ambulance paramedics and two land ambulance teams were also at the scene.



"Six of the group's lives would have been lost had the lifeguards not intervened."



All those rescued are understood to have recovered.



The children involved in the rescue were aged between 12 and 15, and were staying at the nearby Kiln Caravan Park.

The RNLI's Jon Johnson was on his way to warn the group of the potential danger when the sandbank shifted, plunging all 40 people into the water.



He told BBC News: "They were all fully clothed which made it a lot harder for them to swim and even some of them couldn't swim, so at this time I entered the water whilst calling for backup on the radio."



He went in on an extended surf board and performed a relay rescue with another lifeguard, taking about 10 minutes to clear the water.



"They didn't know how dangerous sandbanks could actually be. They were just going for a leisurely walk and seconds later they are in overhead waters, fully clothed.



"They were very panicky, they were very scared but fortunately the lifeguards were there in seconds and we just had to reassure them."



He said there were many warning signs on the beach and it was "very lucky" the lifeguards were on patrol.



Mr Pitman said the group had been very lucky that lifeguards were patrolling the area at the time that the sandbank shifted.



He told Sky News: "That sandbank is the major hazard on the beach.



"They were very lucky that we just happened to be patrolling that area of the beach at that time, we were just being pro-active having a patrol up there.



"As we are all local we probably have about 30 years' experience between all lifeguards so we were very well aware of that hazard and the dangers it can cause to the people walking on it."





Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen