RNLI lifeguard saves life of weak-swimmer girl swept into sea off rocks at Sandy Bay

A girl swept into the sea off rocks at Sandy Bay, near Exmouth, on Monday evening (July 27) had her life saved by an RNLI lifeguard.

Sandy Bay lifeguard Jake Butt pulled the weak swimmer to safety from choppy surf after her sister ran to raise the alarm.

RNLI lifeguards say floating on your back if you fall into water unexpectedly can save lives, instead of trying to swim or thrash about.

Mr Butt rescued the girl at around 5.30pm after a girl ran up to him while he was on the beach, saying her sister had been washed off the edge of rocks, and was struggling to keep her head above the choppy water.

The RNLI lifeguard used a paddle board to reach the girl, pulled her from beneath the water and dragged her to safety.

Waiting lifeguards back onshore assessed the girl’s condition before she was reunited with her family.

Mr Butt had been moving the westerly red and yellow flag while on water’s edge when the girl ran up to him to say that her sister was in difficulty in the water.

An RNLI lifeguard spokesperson said: “They had been walking out along the rock reef to the east of the flags when the girl had been washed off the edge of the reef in the two to three-feet choppy surf.

“She was a weak swimmer and immediately started to panic, ‘climbing the ladder’ to keep her head above the water wherever possible, although she repeatedly disappeared from view below the surface.”

The spokesperson added: “Having radioed the base Jake grabbed a rescue board and paddled out to her.

“Pulling alongside he grabbed her arm and dragged her back above the surface and on to the rescue board.

“Once on the board he reassured her and checked she was okay, as well as confirming there was nobody else in difficulty, before paddling in to the beach.”

Once back ashore the lifeguards remained with the girl, checking and monitoring her condition.

When it was confirmed no further help was needed, she was given medical advice and left in the care of her parents.

The RNLI has issued float to live’ safety advice for those who fall into water unexpectedly.

The sea safety charity said:

  • Fight your instinct to swim hard or thrash about – this can lead to breathing in water and drowning
  • Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing.
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