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RNLI lifeguards rescues dozens from deadly rip currents in Newquay

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: July 31, 2013

  • SAFETY FIRST: Fistral lifeguards have warned beachgoers to take extra care in the water.

  • Fistral lifeguards

  • Fistral lifeguards

  • Fistral lifeguards

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THE RNLI has issued a stern warning to beachgoers after dozens of people were rescued from deadly rip currents in Newquay this week.

The resort's RNLI lifeguards pulled around 15 people out of the sea at Porth after they got caught in a rip current while coasteering on Thursday.

On Tuesday lifeguards rescued 12 people from the sea at Fistral beach, while a further three were rescued at Mawgan Porth on the same day after being swept out to sea.

The rescues have sparked a warning by the resort's RNLI lifeguards for beachgoers to take "extra care" in the water and follow flag rules.

Fistral lifeguard Jackson Howell was patrolling the bathing area on a rescue board when the incident occurred on his beach.

He and his colleagues, Leon Mansfield and Anthony Middleton, responded immediately, grabbing their rescue boards and darting into the sea.

Mr Howell said: "We also had some casualty care situations at the top of the beach, so we didn't have the man power to launch the rescue water craft. However, the three experienced lifeguards rescued 12 people on rescue boards and assisted a further three or four back to shore.

"We're experiencing low spring tides which, when coupled with a large swell, work to intensify the rip currents.

"It's quite common to experience these conditions on the north coast, and the RNLI lifeguards are used to managing the bathing area, however, it's really important that bathers and bodyboarders help themselves by staying within their depth, making sure they are between the red and yellow flags, and listening to the lifeguards' advise."

In Porth, RNLI lifeguards Senn Woodfinden and Rod MacDonald were patrolling the water's edge at low tide when they saw the group of around 15 struggling against the current.

They grabbed their rescue boards and paddled out but realised that there were too many to deal with on their own and so called for back up from Towan beach.

RNLI lifeguard Danni Bosche responded on the rescue water craft and helped transfer the casualties to shore.

The group had been exploring the Island and were making their way back to shore on the Porth side when the incident happened.

The lifeguards estimate that they helped between 10 and 15 people to safety.

Lifeguards patrolling the 16 beaches in the Newquay and Padstow area reported that 70 people had been rescued since last Monday.

An RNLI spokesman said low spring tides, combined with a building swell, were amplifying the strength and intensity of rip currents and creating flash rips, resulting in bathers being suddenly swept out of their depth.

She said there is signage on all beaches warning of local hazards including rip currents.

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