Hunstanton volunteers received a call to help the three sisters who were clinging to a bouy after being swept out of their depth. Two of the sisters lost grip of the bouy and were swept further out to sea, in what had become a life or death situation.
Helmsman Michael Darby said: ‘This incident was the most serious one we have attended for some time, and the prompt response by the volunteer crew undoubtedly saved this young family from a grim fate.’
One of the girls holding on to the buoy has become very distressed, RNLI Senior Helmsman Michael Darby jumped into the sea and swam to the terrified young girl. He took hold of her and managed to inflate his lifejacket in order to keep them both afloat.
Will Stephens, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said: ‘We are really pleased that there was a positive outcome and that the girls are now safe. Swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a swimming pool. People are rarely aware of the tide times and however tempting it is to walk out on to the banks, the tidal currents are strong.’
This summer 2315 children took the opportunity offered by the RNLI and ASA who are working together as part of a swim safe campaign. The scheme offers improver swimming lessons and beach safety advice, helping children and young adults learn to swim in open water safely.
Will continued: ‘We would strongly advise visitors to the seaside to go to a lifeguarded beach and to enjoy the beach but to do so safely.’
Notes to editors:
• Between 2009-2011, 28 children under the age of 18 drowned incidents either by the water or swimming
• Will Stephens, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager is available for interview
• Stacy O’Donnell, the mother of the girls rescued is available for interview
Kirsti Pawlowski, RNLI Public Relations Officer, t. 01202 663510 or 17747768799 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 160 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 139,000 lives.
A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.