Dozens of children saved by 'heroic' lifeguards
Sunday 26 July 2009
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."
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...