AN OFF-DUTY RNLI lifeguard – as well as the Coastguard rescue team – raced to the aid of a walker who had broken her ankle on a remote section of the coastal path.
Sam Bailey, Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, became aware of the incident, in which a 66-year-old woman slipped from a stile whilst walking between Pwllglaelod and Fishguard.
Sam, who was off duty on the day and lives about a mile away from the spot, was first on the scene after he cycled to Pwllgwaelod and ran along the path to find the woman in severe pain.
He carried out initial checks on the injured woman and liaised with Milford Haven Coastguard, who had dispatched a land rescue team who arrived shortly after.
Sam and the coastguard team members monitored the casualty while waiting for the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter to arrive and airlift her to hospital.
In the meantime, fellow RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Michael Vincent rushed from the RNLI’s Cardigan base with a trauma bag carrying pain relief and other first aid equipment.
After administering pain relief, Sam and Michael, working with the Coastguard team, used fracture straps and put the woman on a spinal board ready to be winched to hospital when the helicopter arrived shortly after.
Phil Davies, RNLI Lifeguard Manager, said: “The incident on Friday, July 15, showed fantastic teamwork and communication between our lifeguard team and the Coastguard rescue teams and the lengths that our lifeguards will go to help those in need.”
Lifeguards in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion are entering their busiest time of the year with schools having broken up for summer.
Eight beaches in Ceredigion and 12 in Pembrokeshire will have a daily lifeguard service throughout the summer holidays, with lifeguards on duty between 10am and 6pm. There is also a daily service on Pendine beach.
This week, lifeguards on a number of beaches in the area carried out rescues and assists where people in inflatables got swept out on offshore winds and were unable to return to shore.
Lifeguard Supervisor Michael Vincent said: “Blow-up toys and airbeds are designed for pools, not the sea where they can easily be swept out.
“If you do use them at the beach, then ensure children are closely supervised, keep near the shore, only use them between the red and yellow flags, always follow the lifeguard’s advice, do not take them out in big waves and never use them when orange windsock is flying, as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea.
“We encourage those thinking of a trip to the coast over the summer to always visit a lifeguarded beach and if you’re heading into the sea, please respect the water and swim between the red and yellow flags, which have been designated as the safest swimming areas by lifeguards.
“The lifeguards are fully trained in all aspects of beach safety, so if you have any questions please approach a lifeguard who will be more than happy to help or offer expert advice.”
Last year, RNLI lifeguards assisted over 900 people on 32 of Wales’ busiest beaches. This year, the charity has increased the safety patrols to 39 beaches across the Welsh coast.