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
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: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory