Dramatic rescue at sea


An eleven year-old schoolboy was involved in a dramatic rescue as he was swept more than a mile out to sea in an orange inflatable dinghy last Tuesday, the hottest day of the year so far.

The volunteer crew of RNLI Dungeness were called as the boy’s family watched helplessly as the youngster was blown out to sea. Rescue footage released by the RNLI shows the moment the volunteers found the boy over a mile offshore.

Volunteer crew member, Stuart Richardson, said: “The boy’s family on the beach could see their son being blown offshore and realising the situation was quickly worsening did the right thing in calling 999 and asking for the coastguard.

“The young lad also did the right thing by staying seated in the dinghy until help arrived. When we reached him, he was very cold and scared but otherwise well, and we warmed him up with blankets, biscuits, and a drink before reuniting him with his parents.”

“I thought I’d lost him”

The boy’s mother said: “I shouted out to him to stay still and stay on the boat, and he listened.

“I can’t explain the emotions I went through when I saw him drifting out to sea. At that moment, I felt like I lost him.

“When the lifeboat crew brought my son back to me, I thanked them for saving his life and I can remember one crew member saying: ‘We didn’t save him, he saved himself by staying on the inflatable dinghy.’

“I can’t thank the crew at Dungeness enough for saving my child and bringing him back safely.”

Stuart added: “He was found more than a mile offshore which shows just how quickly an offshore wind can blow an inflatable out to sea, so we would encourage people visiting the coast to always check which way the wind is blowing before entering the sea.

“Also, by choosing a lifeguarded beach wherever possible and swimming between the red and yellow flags, it means our highly-trained lifeguards can keep a watchful eye over those enjoying the water.”

RNLI lifesavers are expected to be busy during the school summer holidays. Last year, of the 41 lives saved by RNLI lifeguards 39% were children under 13.

The RNLI’s key water safety advice for 7-14 year-olds is:

  • Stop and think – always swim in a safe place.
  • Stay together – always swim with an adult, younger children and non-swimmers should always be within arm’s reach.
  • Float – if you find yourself in trouble in the water, float on your back like a starfish.
  • Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the coastguard.

Image Credits: RNLI Dungeness .

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