Lifesavers kept busy despite warning of dangerous surf
By Western Morning News | Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 06:30
Fine weather and testing surfing conditions over the weekend saw Westcountry beaches swarming with holidaymakers and locals.
However, volunteers were kept busy with a string of rescues after rip currents struck around Devon and Cornwall.
Two heroic 16-year-old beach patrol volunteers saved three holidaymakers from dangerous currents off the North Cornwall coast.
Jobe Harris and Ella Henwood-Waters, members of Bude Surf Life Saving Club were keeping watch on Sunday off Crooklets Beach when three holidaymakers got into difficulties.
With large and dangerous surf around, the pair were at the water's edge warning bathers about the rip currents lurking beneath the waves.
However, the three people ignored the advice given by Jobe and Ella and dashed into the sea. Within minutes they were swept out of their depth, with one man waving for help.
The lifesavers rushed into the water to help the struggling trio. Ella brought the two nearest back to shore while Jobe swam out to the farthest man, who had swallowed water and was struggling to keep afloat. He kept the man's head above water and also signalled for assistance.
He was able to swim the man back to shore, where his distressed family were waiting, having witnessed the frightening episode.
Ella said: "We did tell them not to enter the water so when we saw them go in, we knew they would be in trouble pretty quickly."
Adrian Parson, club chairman, said the organisation was very proud of the pair.
He said: "They showed controlled execution of a good rescue.
"As a volunteer club which trains the beach lifeguard qualification, and assists the paid lifeguards on the beach with volunteer patrols, this is a perfect example of why surf life saving clubs are so valuable to the community.
"We urge all beach users to be extremely careful and listen to the advice of surf life savers and beach lifeguards."
The weekend also saw RNLI lifeguards busy with several mass rescues.
At Croyde beach in North Devon on Sunday, 36 people were rescued from rip currents by RNLI lifeguards. And the RNLI saved nine people at Challaborough in the South Hams after they got into trouble.
The previous day at Porthtowan in Cornwall, seven bathers were rescued and two helped to their feet after being caught by large waves.
Holidaymaker Sam Bancroft-Blake was one of those rescued from the beach.
He said: "I was boogie boarding in the water with my daughter and son.
"The waves were too strong and we couldn't get back to the shallow water.
"We felt confident we were OK as the lifeguard spotted we were in trouble and rescued us straight away. I'd like to thank them for their help."