Soldier tells of how his training helped save the lives of teenage boys pulled from Blackpool sea

  • Private Michael Bunning speaks to Granada Reports presenters Gamal Fahbulleh and Lucy Meacock

A teenage soldier who recently joined the Army has told how his training helped save the lives of two school boys pulled from the sea.

Private Michael Bunning, 19, based in Preston, gave CPR to the two boys after they were rescued from the sea near Blackpool’s Central Pier on one of the hottest days on record.

The boys, aged 12 and 14, were initially rescued by two teenage girls after getting into difficulty while swimming, before Michael sprang into action.

Michael, a driver with 3 Medical Regiment based in Preston, said: “My partner spotted them being rescued and we ran over.

"At first, I was only aware of the younger boy, I started giving CPR and he came around quite quickly.

“It was then that I was made aware of the other boy, so I put the first in the recovery position and started working on the other.”

There was an extensive Emergency service presence at the rescue.

The teenager started breathing again a few minutes later and was taken to the hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

The other boy is at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in a 'poorly' but not critical, condition.

Michael said: “It was stressful, but my training just kicked in. It’s amazing the training we get, and we are constantly refreshing. I couldn’t have done it without that.”

17-year-old Jay Lewis, who also helped in the effort along with his friends, said there was panic in the crowd but that he "can't waste a second" in those moments.

He warns of the dangers of water, particularly for swimmers who may not be confident, as such actions can put others in peril.

A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We commend Michael’s actions for providing immediate care for the boys.

"In situations like this, every minute matters, and it sounds like his intervention was crucial on this occasion.

“We would encourage everyone to learn CPR and other first-aid skills as you never know if you might need to provide life-saving treatment to a family member, friend or even a stranger in an emergency.”

Credit: MOD

Superintendent Chris Hardy, of Blackpool Police, said: “This incident once again shows, all too clearly, the dangers that open water can present.

"I have no doubt that if it hadn’t been for the brave and swift actions of the two girls who pulled the boys from the water, and Michael, who gave CPR alongside nearby security staff, we would have been dealing with at least one fatality."

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