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Two saved from drowning off Exmouth

Exmouth's RNLI lifeguards on Exmouth beach (courtesy: Exmouth Lifeguards South and East Devon/Facebook)

Coastguard's busiest day in four years

Exmouth's RNLI life guards say they had a "very busy day" on Friday, during which they saved two people from drowning near the sandbar. It was just one of 329 incidents across the UK for HM Coastguard on what was their busiest day for four years.

Waters are treacherous off sections off the middle section of Exmouth beach, as well as near fast-flowing waters at the mouth of the River Exe. Around 11.30am on Friday, whist keeping an eye on activity from the RNLI's summer temporary base on the beach, life guard Sarah Hunter was alerted to two swimmers in difficulty.  The casualties, a young child and an adult, had been swept off ‘the spit’ by the incoming tide and into the deep fast-flowing sea.

A post on the lifeguard's Facebook page says: "Her colleague Kaifen Phippen immediately responded on a rescue board, backed up by Alex Sanger-Anderson on a second board. By the time Kaifen reached the casualties the child was intermittently submerged while the adult was fighting to keep their head above the water to attract help. Kaifen grabbed them both and supported them on the board until Alex arrived, they then paddled each casualty in separately.  Once ashore the casualties were reassured and monitored to confirm no immediate medical intervention was required, as well as being warned of the risks of delayed-onset drowning.

Julie-Anne Wood, duty operations director for HM Coastguard said Friday: "was a beautiful day weather wise in much of the UK. It was less beautiful a day for those who got themselves into trouble and had to be rescued. Some people will remember 31st July for all the wrong reasons.

"We completely understand that people want to enjoy the coast. We also know that even the most experienced swimmer, paddleboarder and walker can be caught out by currents and tides respectively. We’re heading into some more good weather and we would really ask you to check and double check the tide times – put a timer warning on a smartphone to remind you -  be aware of things like rip currents, and make sure you have a means of contacting us if things do go wrong.

"As the figures show, we’ll always respond when someone calls 999 and asks for the Coastguard, we’ll always answer distress on VHF  and we’ll always do everything we can to rescue those in need. All we ask in return is that you take extra care at the coast – it can be unmerciful to the unwary and even to those who know it well."

The RNLI remind people:

  • -The safest place to swim is always between the red and yellow flags
  • Never swim in an area marked by red flags and always look out for signs warning of dangers
  • -Ask the lifeguards for advice if needed
  • Keep an eye on your family or group when they're in the water

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