Teenager rescued from sea at Sunderland by RNLI lifeguards after ignoring warning flags

RNLI lifeguards went to the rescue of a swimmer who got into difficulty off the coast at Sunderland.

Friday, 29th June 2018, 3:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 5:19 pm
Roker beach RNLI lifeguards James Corner and Adam Blenkinsop, who were involved in the rescue of the swimmer. Pic: RNLI.
Roker beach RNLI lifeguards James Corner and Adam Blenkinsop, who were involved in the rescue of the swimmer. Pic: RNLI.

The guards from Seaburn and Roker beaches worked together to rescue the 18-year-old, who appeared in distress and was struggling to get back to shore against a strong rip current.

The drama unfolded at 12:40pm yesterday, when the charity’s Seaburn and Roker lifeguards noticed a young man over 200 metres offshore from Seaburn Beach, and immediately launched their rescue board and jet ski.

At the same time, a member of the public raised the alarm to a nearby RNLI lifeguard at the north end of the beach, who swam out to assist the young man.

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He had become caught in a strong rip current after swimming outside the red and yellow flags on the beach, which mark where is safe to swim in the current conditions.

After remembering RNLI ‘Float to Live’ messages, the stricken swimmer was able to stay afloat until the lifeguards got to him.

Guards from Seaburn beach reached him within a couple of minutes and got him on a rescue board, before colleagues from Roker beach arrived to take him back to shore on the jet ski.

Within seven minutes, the casualty was safely brought back to the beach, where he was given first aid treatment for cold water shock by the lifeguards.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Alex Richardson said: "Rip currents are a major cause of accidental drowning in the UK.

"We urge those spending time on the beach this summer to visit a lifeguarded beach, and always swim between the red and yellow flags.

"This way our lifeguards can quickly identify anyone in trouble in the water and be on hand to help."

Rips are strong currents running out to sea, which can quickly drag people away from the shallows of the shoreline and out to deeper water.

They can be difficult to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea's surface.

If you get caught in a rip current, the RNLI’s advice is to:

* Stay calm.

* Float on your back to regulate your breathing until you can swim to shore or call for help.

* If you can stand, wade, don’t swim.

* Keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float.

* Raise your hand and shout for help.

* Never try to swim directly against the rip or you'll get exhausted.

·* Swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore.