Woman who can't swim is saved from drowning
A WOMAN who couldn't swim was caught out by the conditions at Summerleaze beach in Bude – and grabbed by an RNLI lifeguard in the nick of time.
The holidaymaker was swept into deep water surrounding a sand bank last Thursday, while lifeguards were working flat-out keeping an eye on 400 bathers and 2,500 people on the beach.
Lifeguard supervisor 'Mini' Fray said senior lifeguard Rory Sacree was patrolling on a jetski-type rescue craft when he saw the woman swept off the sand bank and into 10ft of water.
It became apparent she couldn't swim but, exhausted by her ordeal, she couldn't find the strength to get on to the sled towed behind the rescue craft either.
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With help from Rory she managed to get half-on before slipping back into the water and disappearing below the surface. However, Rory managed to catch her hand and hold on until he could reach calm water, turn the power off and help the woman on to the sled safely.
On reaching the beach lifeguards attended to the woman until her family arrived to take her to Bude and Stratton Hospital to be checked for any signs of secondary drowning – lung irritation caused by inhaling water.
"This lady was extremely lucky that Rory was right there when she was swept into the deep water troughs that lie to the side of the sand bank, especially as she couldn't swim," said Mr Fry.
"If you're going to visit a beach as a non-swimmer it's really worth talking to the lifeguards about suitable areas to paddle and enjoy the water safely. They'll be delighted to help you."