Swimmer risks life in Porthleven sea during storm
THIS was the moment a foolhardy swimmer at Porthleven was said to put his own life and arguably those of the emergency services at risk.
Witnesses called the dip amid the huge waves on Monday morning "incredibly stupid".
The RNLI said the actions, at a time of heightened alert due to gale-force winds, were "foolish and extremely dangerous".
West Briton photographer Keith Richards was taking pictures of the sea just before 9am when he and other bystanders spotted the bather wading into the surf.
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He said: "I couldn't believe it. My first reaction was, 'What an idiot'. He could easily have got into trouble.
"It was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Other people said exactly the same to me without me prompting them."
Authorities had been warning people to stay away from the sea and the day before a 14-year-old playing on a south coast beach was swept away.
Speaking of the Porthleven swimmer, James Millidge, RNLI regional community incident reduction manager, said: "Taking to the sea in such challenging conditions and with inappropriate clothing is not only foolish but extremely dangerous for you and for those RNLI volunteers who may have to come and rescue you if the sea washes you away.
"The sea is far more powerful than you think and your chances of survival are slim if you are dragged away by the swell."
He said there was the risk of drowning, dying from cold water shock or from being battered on to rocks by the crashing waves.
He added: "We understand why people want to experience extreme weather, but we would urge folk to watch the conditions from a safe distance so we don't have to put our charity's volunteer lifeboat teams in danger, or those of our colleagues in other emergency services who may ultimately be called to try and rescue you."
Falmouth coastguard watch officer Tago Mcloed said anyone who intends to go in or near the sea should carefully consider the risks.
"Checking the tide and weather conditions should always be done and it is advisable to let someone know your intentions.
"In addition, and perhaps more importantly, people should be realistic about their abilities.
"While these pictures are dramatic, we don't know anything about this man's swimming ability.
"A poor swimmer in relatively calm sea conditions could be at just as much risk, perhaps even more, than this man at Porthleven.
"However, it would be reasonable to say that in such sea conditions watching from a safe place is probably a more sensible idea for all concerned."