Appledore lifeboat saves man’s life after he tried to swim in treacherous estuary

The man who tried to swim in the Taw Torridge Estuary is rescued by Appledore RNLI and taken to a wa

The man who tried to swim in the Taw Torridge Estuary is rescued by Appledore RNLI and taken to a waiting ambulance. Picture: RNLI/Alex Hall - Credit: RNLI/Alex Hall

Appledore lifeboat has saved the life of a man who decided to go for an evening swim in the treacherous waters of the Taw Torridge Estuary.

The RNLI was alerted at 8.15pm last night (Sunday, May 31) that a person was in difficulty swimming by the inner pulley buoy and the inshore lifeboat launched immediately.

The 22-year-old had gone swimming from Greysands at Appledore, just after low tide when the outgoing river water is fighting the incoming tide in a narrow deep channel.

Luckily he managed to get to a rock by the buoy but the incoming water gave very little time.

The lifeboat quickly picked up the shocked and exhausted swimmer, who had been wearing just a pair of shorts and was very cold, with hypothermia likely to set in.


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First aid was administered by the crew and he was rushed back to shore where an ambulance took him to North Devon District Hospital.

Appledore RNLI has said no one should ever attempt to swim from Greysands.

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A spokesperson said: “It is a notoriously dangerous piece of water, a deep channel in a double river estuary, where tides can flow at up to eight knots at times; way faster than an Olympic swimmer can swim. “The water at the moment is also still extremely cold.

“This is not an area which ever has lifeguards as it is an area where it is strongly recommend never entering the water, due to the strong tides and rip currents.”

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember and follow RNLI safety advice:

* Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage

* Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water

* Don’t allow your family to swim alone

* Don’t use inflatables

* If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float

* In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard

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