Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Holiday makers’ thank you to mystery surfers who saved their children

08:30 07 August 2013

Tim, 16 (left), and Michael, 13, were playing in the sea when they realised they couldn

Tim, 16 (left), and Michael, 13, were playing in the sea when they realised they couldn't get back to the beach


A HOLIDAYMAKER has praised the efforts of three quick-thinking surfers who saved her children from being washed out to sea.

Mum Yuliya Johnson and her husband Ian, on a family holiday from Derby, watched on helplessly as their two sons, Tim, 16, and Michael, 13, fought strong waves and a powerful rip current at Woolacombe.

The children – both competent pool swimmers – had been happily jumping around in the waves on a quieter part of the beach – outside the zone patrolled by RNLI lifeguards.

To the horror of their panicked parents, the brothers were swept out to sea in a matter of minutes.

“It all happened so quickly,” said Yuliya.

“The current was so strong and pulled them away so quickly.

“I went into the water fully dressed, screaming ‘please come back!’ I was hysterical but useless.

“My husband stood on the sand frozen. We were very close to losing both children to the sea.”

To their relief, a young girl surfing nearby spotted the boys and raised the alarm to two adult surfers, who brought them back to shore.

“I want to say a massive thank you again to those people for saving my kids. God Bless them,” said Yuliya.

“That little girl was reassuring them all along. Those people are my heroes now. I did not even ask their names, I was so shocked and distressed.

“I also want to say to other parents that children are proud of their swimming achievements in school but you need to be aware of the dangers of swimming in the sea. It’s not the same thing.”

The RNLI and Amateur Swimming Association recently joined forces to pilot a scheme to teach children how to cope in such situations.

The ‘Swim Safe’ initiative is offering 3,000 seven to 14-year olds advice on how to stay safe in the sea, running throughout August in Bude.

Will Stephens, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said: “Children account for around two-thirds of incidents the charity’s lifeguards respond to.

“We’re hoping this programme will equip children with valuable knowledge and skills so they can have fun but stay safe in and around the sea.”

Last year nearly half of the environmental incidents dealt with by RNLI lifeguards involved rip currents.

Lifeguards advise beach-goers to always swim between the red and yellow flags, patrolled areas identified as the safest on the beach.


Other News Stories

Yesterday, 15:00

North Devon and Torridge District councils are on track to put their joint plan for the future of the two districts into action by May 2016.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:57
Large trees were brought down in the slide at Beam Quarry, on the A386 between Torrington and Weare Giffard. Picture: Submitted

Engineers look for solutions for both sites but road will close for 10 weeks in January for unrelated repairs to retaining wall near Landcross

Read more
Yesterday, 13:02
PROBLEM panels: The solar panels at the Civic Centre in Barnstaple have been inactive for the last 18 months.

£375,000 of panels being offered to anyone who wants them

Read more
Yesterday, 17:35
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones

Peter Heaton-Jones says the Autumn Statement ‘kept giving good news’

Read more
Yesterday, 16:02
Is there cash for the North Devon Link Road?

North Devon will be able to bid for a share of a £475m transport pot

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
An artist's impression of how the renovated pub and manor house will look

A planning application has been submitted for the Farmer’s Arms pub in Woolsery.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:58
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne delivers his joint Autumn Statement and Spending Review to MPs in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire

Tax credit cuts scrapped, potential two per cent on council tax, ‘no police cuts’...

Read more
Yesterday, 13:42
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne delivers his joint Autumn Statement and Spending Review to MPs in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire

Chancellor allows an extra two per cent tax for councils if it is spent on social care

Read more
Yesterday, 10:18

Two Okehampton crews deal with farmyard blaze

Read more

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas Magazine

Click here for your ultimate guide to
Christmas in North Devon

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications