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'Any death on the beaches is one too many': Lifeguards react to rip-current tragedy

The swimmers got into difficulty between the yellow square in the distance and the rocks behind. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Lifeguards working along a stretch of the Norfolk coast where a swimmer died after getting caught in a rip-current, are reminding people to always swim on life-guarded beaches.

Staff have been back on duty today at Sea Palling as hundreds of people headed there to enjoy the hot weather on the first weekend of the school summer holidays.

Sam Kendrick is the RNLI's lifeguard supervisor at Sea palling Credit: ITV News Anglia

"At least two of the lifeguards that were involved yesterday are working today so they're back on the beach and they're working again. One death at the beach is one death too many and it's a very tragic thing that happened yesterday, but we are here to patrol our beaches today and you can see behind me that it's very busy so there's lots for us to do."

– Sam Kendrick, Lifeguard Supervisor, RNLI
Lifeguards patrol the beach at Sea Palling, Norfolk Credit: ITV News Anglia

The group of four swimmers got into difficulty at Sea Palling beach around 800 metres away from the lifeguarded section of the beach.

The coastguard received multiple 999 calls from onlookers seeing that the people were in trouble and emergency services came to the scene along with several lifeboats and two air ambulances.

Two of the people managed to get themselves to the shore to safety and another two were pulled unconscious from the water by members of the public.

One of them, a 26-year-old man was revived through CPR and airlifted to hospital where he is in a stable condition. The other, a 54-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

A packed beach at Sea Palling, Norfolk Credit: ITV News Anglia
Warning signs can be seen at Sea Palling Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It was an extremely busy scene with lots of people around, but it appears these four men got into distress in the water because of one of the notorious rips that can occur off this coast."

– Jack Hood, RNLI

The RNLI has issued some advice for anyone wanting to head to our coastlines this summer.

  • Always swim on a lifeguarded beach when possible.
  • Be aware of your limitations in the water.
  • Never swim alone, always go with someone, or make sure someone is watching.
  • Research tidal information.
  • If you are unsure, always ask a lifeguard.

"If you get caught in a strong current or rip current try to stay as calm as you can, raise your hand and shout for help. Hold on to your surf or body board if you have one. If you can’t get help, try and swim parallel to the beach until you’re out of trouble then swim to the shore. If you see someone in difficulty tell a lifeguard or call 999 and ask for Coastguard."

– Maritime & Coastguard Agency

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