Members of the public save woman swept into sea at Westward Ho!

PUBLISHED: 16:03 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:38 19 April 2018

Ross Ashton went into the sea to rescue the woman at Westward Ho!

Ross Ashton went into the sea to rescue the woman at Westward Ho!

Archant

A Westward Ho! man has talked about he and members of the public saved a woman after she was swept into the sea.

Ross Ashton and his girlfriend Rebecca were walking in the village on Tuesday evening as waves at high tide swept over the seafront.

The 25-year-old, who works in the Merchant Navy, climbed into the sea near the slipway after noticing a woman had disappeared.

He said: We had been in the slipway area and had seen a lady stood near the wall, but we moved further back to the car park.

“We got a bit wet from one of the waves and were giggling and laughing, and I thought I didn’t know if the lady was still stood there.

Ross Ashton. Ross Ashton.

“She must have been knocked off her feet and then swept down on the slipway.

“She was getting sucked under by the currents, hitting the rocks and then getting sucked out again.”

For Ross, an experienced surfer and former member of Bideford Bay Surf Life Saving Club, he didn’t need to think twice before going in to save her.

“I walked along and took my jacket and shirt of and told my girlfriend to call 999.

“I climbed down on to the rocks and noticed she was coming in and out, being a local I knew the layout of the beach and where the groynes are.

“I went out and when she came over I swam out to her, we came in on the wave and I took her up the beach, where people were there to help me carry her up to safety.

“I told her we had to get out of the waves but she could barely breathe, so we took her up and put her in the recovery position.”

The members of the public were soon joined by ambulance crews, who treated the lady. Bideford Coastguard also arrived and cordoned off the slipway area.

Ross hoped the incident would make others think about standing at a safe distance when high waves are coming in.

“I am grateful for all the training and experience I have had which enabled me to help someone in a difficult or life threatening situation,” he said.

“I have had first aid training and awareness of the sea from an early age due to Bideford Surf Life Saving Club through to the merchant navy.

“This was a team effort from the guys that helped me carry her up the rocks and the ambulance service and coastguard were very quick to respond, thank you so much for everyone involved.

“The sea can be unpredictable so enjoy with caution, especially near the slipway at high tide.”

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