Young boy rescued on Cornwall beach told lifeguards 'I thought I was going to die'

An RNLI rescue on Perranporth Beach at the weekend. Credit: RNLI

RNLI lifeguards around Cornwall had to rescue multiple people from the water over the weekend, including one boy who told lifeguards he thought he was going to die.

With strong winds and large waves predicted again this week, the RNLI is urging people to stay safe and visit a lifeguarded beach if they head to the coast.

On Saturday 22 August, Perranporth RNLI lifeguards were involved in a rescue that likely saved the lives of three bathers who appeared to be in serious difficulty.

The lifeguards launched the inshore rescue boat, a rescue watercraft and a rescue board to get the people out of the water.

Perranporth Beach Credit: PA

Tackling large dumping waves and strong rip currents as they approached the bathers, they collected one casualty each and returned them all safely to shore.

The young boy who was returned to shore on the rescue board appeared very shaken and said: "I thought I was going to die".

On 23 August, Porthmeor RNLI lifeguards rescued 30 bathers caught in a flash rip current and required additional assistance from three surf school instructors. 

They paddled out to the bathers in difficulty and used their swell boards and rescue boards to keep people afloat and assist them to shore.

The rescue watercraft was also required to ferry bathers back to shore on the back of the sled and everybody was safely returned to shore and given safety advice. 

During the flooding tide, as a team we made sure we always had substantial numbers on proactive water patrols and were continuously using the PA system to advise bathers to stay waist to chest deep and always keep hold of your board or floatation device.

James Symons, Porthmeor Senior Lifeguard

In south east Cornwall, lifeguards at Tregonhawke carried out three serious rip current rescues over the weekend, following on from a mass rescue on Thursday 20 August in which it is thought eight lives were saved.   

At Harlyn Bay, near Padstow, lifeguards performed a mass rescue on 23 August. Lifeguards advise all swimmers to go between the red and yellow flagged area but the entered the water outside of the safe area and got into difficulty.   

With the current conditions we have been experiencing of strong winds and large surf, it is more important than ever to remember to visit a lifeguarded beach and stay in the red and yellow flagged areas if you are swimming or bodyboarding.

Ollie Shilston, Lead Lifeguard Supervisor

If you find yourself caught in a rip, follow this advice: 

  • Don’t try to swim against it, you will quickly get exhausted

  • If you can stand, wade don’t swim 

  • Swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore

  • Always raise your hand and shout for help