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RNLI rescue exercise with Grylls' son had 'best intentions'

Bear Grylls has been criticised by the RNLI Credit: PA

Survival expert, Bear Grylls, has been criticised for leaving his young son on rocks in the middle of the sea as part of an RNLI rescue exercise.

Bear left his son Jesse, 11, on rocks off the coast of his private island, then invited lifeboat crews to save him.

Bear Grylls Tweeted a photo of his son, Jesse, on rocks Credit: Bear Grylls

Grylls approached the RNLI to say he wanted to help them practice saving children near his home on St Tudwal's Island in north Wales.

But the life-saving charity had no idea the training exercise at the Half Tide Rocks off the coast of 'Bear Island' would feature a live child.

Bear, who Tweeted a picture of his son Jesse standing on the rocks surrounded by freezing cold water, has been criticised for putting his child at risk.

I certainly wouldn't put my young son on those rocks, and also it could encourage people to do the same which would be unfortunate.

As I understand it, it was supposed to be a low key exercise. The crew tell me they didn't know Bear's son was going to be on the rocks, as there is an element of risk.

No one was thankfully hurt, but in his efforts to give the RNLI some publicity this is the wrong kind.

– RNLI manager Gareth Hughes

Bear - who is currently holidaying at his remote island home - got in touch with the RNLI team at Abersoch, north Wales, offering to share his survival skills.

The crew were shocked to see the boy standing on the rocks but managed to successfully save him on Thursday evening.

Dad-of-three Bear later Tweeted a picture with the caption: "Jesse and the RNLI on a training exercise to rescue him off the rocks".

But RNLI manager Gareth was "shocked" when he returned from holiday to learn what Bear had done.

An RNLI spokesman said: "Bear Grylls had approached Abersoch RNLI during the week and asked if, on our normal Thursday training evening, we could do an exercise with him.

"We did not appreciate that the exercise would involve him putting his son on Half Tide Rocks.

"Bear Grylls put his son on the rocks and then the lifeboat, as part of the exercise, rescued him from the rocks.

"In hindsight the child should not have been on the rocks but everyone was acting with the best of intentions and getting valuable practise in rescuing a child."

Abersoch RNLI launched 15 times in the last three weeks and including rescues of children - last year a third of all those rescued by them were under 18.

Bear - who is an ambassador for the RNLI - has been approached for comment.