A YOUNG child who fell from an inflatable and was unable to swim was rescued from the sea by an RNLI lifeguard at a Ceredigion beach.
It was one of two water rescues carried out by the county’s RNLI lifeguard team on a busy Bank Holiday Monday (Aug 29). At around the same time at Aberystwyth a woman suffering breathing difficulties got into trouble in the sea and needed to be returned to shore by lifeguards.
The first incident at Clarach happened at 5.40pm – just 20 minutes before the RNLI lifeguards finish their service for the day at 6pm. Lifeguard Sam Wilmott was patrolling the water’s edge when he spotted a group of girls – between eight and 10 years old – on inflatable bodyboards.
The group were not too far out but as the tide was high the beach steeply slopes and the girls were out of their depth. One of the girls, who was not a confident swimmer, panicked when she realised she was out of her depth and fell off the inflatable into the water. She was unable to swim back to shore and was struggling to stay afloat but within seconds lifeguard Sam had spotted the danger and had paddled out to her on a surf rescue board.
He took hold of the girl, reunited her with the inflatable and assisted her back to the safety of the shore to be reunited with her family. She was slightly shaken but luckily required no further medical treatment.
At around the same time RNLI lifeguards were carrying out another rescue a few miles down the coast at Aberystwyth North beach. Lifeguards Sion Francis and Rhodri Evans were at the water’s edge when a man approached them saying a woman in her 40s he was with was in trouble in the sea about 40m away from the red and yellow flagged swimming area.
He said the woman, who was about 30m from the shore and out of her depth, suffered from a lung condition and was struggling to breathe or return to the beach.
Sion paddled out to her on a surf rescue board to find her weak, breathing heavily and struggling to stay afloat. He used the board to help her stay afloat and assisted her back to shore where lifeguards assessed her condition further.
By this time Rhodri had fetched the lifeguards’ trauma bag, which carries a range of first aid equipment. Due to the woman’s breathing rate oxygen was administered and an ambulance was called.
The lifeguards continued to monitor the woman’s condition until the paramedics arrived and took over her care.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Sam Trevor said: “Both these incidents had the potential to be serious and the swift action of our lifeguards at Clarach and Aberystwyth yesterday ensured there were good outcomes for the people involved.
“Even on days like yesterday when the sea conditions seem calm and the weather is fine the water can be unpredictable so we would always urge people to respect the water and be informed about how to stay safe. At high tide Clarach and Aberystwyth North beaches slope steeply so people can be out of their depth quicker than they think. Swimming between the red and yellow flags means you are in the safest area and there are fully trained RNLI lifeguards on hand should you need advice or assistance.”
RNLI lifeguards will be on Clarach, Borth, Aberystwyth North and South, New Quay, Llangrannog, Tresaith, Aberporth, Poppit and Newport beaches every day between 10am and 6pm until Sunday (Sept 4).