A young man swept out to sea after ‘tombstoning’ off Axmouth harbour was saved by a swimmer and paddle boarder – as emergency services launched a major rescue bid.
The ‘barely-conscious and hypothermic’ thrill-seeker needed medical attention on Seaton beach before he was taken to hospital in Exeter.
Beer and Lyme Regis coastguard teams, paramedics, fire service co-responders, and Lyme lifeboat attended the incident at around 6.10pm yesterday (Monday, June 1).
The coastguard helicopter was also called from St Athan in Wales .
A group of youths who carried on leaping from the harbour wall into the sea – despite the incident – were subsequently given words of advice by rescue crews.
A Beer Coastguard spokesperson said: “A person tombstoning was washed out to sea and could not get back in. A swimmer and paddle boarder went to his aid and managed to get him ashore as we arrived on scene. Immediate first aid was given.
“We worked with the fire service co-responders and ambulance crew before using our stretcher to carry him to the ambulance and he was then transferred to hospital. We wish him well.
“A big thank you to the swimmer and paddle boarder for rescuing the man.
“Unbelievably, some youths carried on tombstoning, so coastguard officers went and gave them some safety advice.”
A Lyme Regis Coastguard spokesperson added: “On arrival at Seaton beach, the casualty had been recovered from the water onto the beach by a paddle boarder.
“He was barely conscious, hypothermic and had ingested a lot of sea water.
“The young man had been drinking throughout the day and was jumping off the harbour wall.
“This is known as ‘tombstoning’. Please do not tombstone from any harbour walls, cliff or bridges into the sea. There are numerous hazards under the water which can cause serious injuries.
“Three casualties had to be airlifted with life changing injuries at Durdle Door this weekend.
“The harbour at Axmouth is notoriously troublesome. It has very strong currents and a sand bar making the waters treacherous. This creates a ‘rip tide’ that will drag you out to sea very quickly.”
“We cannot stress enough that tombstoning is putting your life at risk and the lives of the rescuers when something goes wrong.”