Father and son rescued after being swept out to sea

Lifeboat Wells, Norfolk

The Wells lifeboat was called out to a father and son who had got into trouble in the water. - Credit: RNLI/Ray West

A father and son were pulled from the sea in Norfolk by a sailing boat and then taken ashore to safety by a lifeboat.

The rescue took place just after midday today, Monday July 26, when the Wells D Class lifeboat was called out initially to reports of three people in trouble in the water.

The people had been reported as being swept out to sea in the approaches to Burnham Overy Harbour as the tide was going out.

A swimmer got into trouble in the same spot, having to cling onto a buoy for safety, less than a week ago.

After the call on Monday at 12.06pm, the Wells inshore lifeboat, with a volunteer crew of three, launched outside the boathouse at 12.15pm on the ebbing tide and headed down the harbour channel towards Burnham Overy.  

In the meantime, a sailing boat in the vicinity had luckily managed to pick up two people out of the water.


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The lifeboat arrived at the Burnham Overy Harbour entrance at 12.26pm and went alongside the sailing boat to pick up the two rescued swimmers.

Having established they needed no medical attention and they were safe and well, it headed to the shore at Gun Hill where other family members were waiting, arriving at 12.30pm.

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Further concerns were for the whereabouts of another member of the family who had also entered the water to aid the two swimmers. However, it was soon established he had already returned to the safety of the shore.  

Wells RNLI

The Wells RNLI crew - Credit: Chris Taylor

RNLI lifeboat operations manager, Chris Hardy said: '"This is the second incident of this nature within the last week. It isn't safe to swim in the channel on an ebbing tide; the current can be extremely strong and even the greatest of swimmers can find themselves in danger. 

"If people see someone in difficulty we urge them not to enter the water to attempt to rescue them, instead they should shout for a lifeguard if there is one nearby, or call 999 and ask for the coastguard. 

"This could have been a very serious situation, so I am pleased that there was a successful outcome on this occasion."

The lifeboat crew remained with the family group until the local coastguard team arrived on the scene. 

It returned to the lifeboat house on the last of the ebbing tide, arriving ashore at 1.03pm. The lifeboat was then sanitised, rehoused, refuelled and back on service at 1.40pm. 

Six days ago, a swimmer had a lucky escape after getting into trouble at the same place, in the channel at Burnham Overy Staithe.

Wells inshore lifeboat launched to join coastguard teams from Wells and Hunstanton, as well as a hovercraft in the rescue mission.

The man was exhausted, but clinging to the last buoy on the edge of the outer harbour, about a quarter of a mile out to sea.

The Eastern Daily Press has launched the Play It Safe campaign urging the public to be water aware.

The Play It Safe campaign is urging the public to be water aware. - Credit: Archant

Play it safe..be water aware

We are encouraging businesses to help spread the water safety message by displaying the Play It Safe poster in their windows.

David Powles, EDP editor, said: "Norfolk and Suffolk are blessed with some wonderful places to enjoy water, with miles and miles of stunning coastline and the beautiful Broads.

"However, in recent years there have been several signs that perhaps people are not fully aware of the dangers which can lie beneath and are not fully preparing themselves before going into the water.

"In 2020 we sadly saw several tragedies both on the coast and inland and already this summer there has been one tragic death of a young man.

"We want to spread more awareness to those looking to enjoy our waters and hope this campaign will do just that, plus encouraging shopkeepers and businesses in popular areas to display our specially designed posters."

The posters can be ordered for free, with only a small charge for postage and packaging, from www.norfolkstore.co.uk/store.

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