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't get back to the beach

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

Archant

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.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 09:20

People around North Devon have come out in force to make their feelings known: we don’t want to lose our maternity services in North Devon.

Read more
Fri, 16:59

The glass-fronted store in Clovelly Road will be open in time for Christmas and is set to be a ‘Lidl of the future’.

Read more
Fri, 10:03

The Gazette has teamed up with hospital campaigners to stand up and fight for our maternity services in North Devon - will you join our #BarnstapleBaby campaign?

Read more

The mother of Bideford schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling said she will be seeking an appeal against the decision.

Read more
Fri, 07:00

Around 150 cyclists raise £15,000 for North Devon Hospice

Read more
Thu, 17:00

Detailed plans for new school at Bucks Cross are revealed

Read more
Thu, 13:58

The Gazette got on the water this morning (Thursday) to watch as the historic steamship entered the River Torridge ahead of its permanent mooring in Bideford.

Read more
Thu, 13:44

The 90 year old has been presented with a special coin, to mark him sharing the same birthday as The Queen.

Read more
Thu, 13:10

Boutport Street now closed following relocation to WHSmith

Read more
Thu, 11:59

Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion on Blacksands Beach after World War Two grenade was found.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications