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Safety warning after teenagers dragged out to sea

A new sea warning is being issued by the RNLI Photo: ITV Tyne Tees

The RNLI has issued a new warning over the dangers of the sea, following the rescue of three teenagers at the Tyneside coast.

The organisation is urging people only to swim in the sea when lifeguards are present on nearby beaches.

On Saturday 19th May, Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat was called to reports of children being swept out to sea at South Shields.

When they arrived, the crew found several teenagers scrambling out of the water on to the beach. One member then noticed a person some distance from the shore. On reaching the scene, they found a girl, of around 14 year old, floating just under the surface.

With other casualties known to be in the water, a wider search was launched, involving Tynemouth RNLI, Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team and South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, along with a police helicopter.

The two missing people - a boy and girl of 14 - were found on the beach and treated for the early signs of hypothermia.

It's thought the teenagers had been caught in a rip current which dragged them out to sea.

'The girl we pulled from the water was extremely lucky as she was a long way from the beach and difficult to spot, and if we hadn't already been launching to another less urgent service we may not have reached her in time to save her.

– Ben Bradshaw, Cullercoats RNLI

With fine weather drawing many people to the region's beaches, the RNLI is reminding them of the dangers of the sea. Lifeguards will be returning to beaches including South Shields from the end of May. Until then, the RNLI is urging people not to venture into the sea as conditions can still be extremely changeable.

Always swim on a lifeguarded beach between the flags. If you're going out into the water, make sure you're with somebody, make sure you tell somebody where you're going and if you get into trouble, raise your hand, start shouting, relax a bit, try not to fight any currents.

– Adrian Don, Tynemouth RNLI Lifeboat Station