Four lifeboats called out to search for missing surfers off Woolacombe

Ilfracombe's inshore lifeboat returning from a search for missing surfers at Woolacombe. Picture: RN

Ilfracombe's inshore lifeboat returning from a search for missing surfers at Woolacombe. Picture: RNLI/Ilfracombe - Credit: RNLI/Ilfracombe

Four lifeboats searched in dense fog for four missing surfers off Woolacombe last night (Tuesday, May 26).

The inshore and all weather lifeboats from Ilfracombe and Appledore were called by the coastguard out to hunt for the surfers after they got caught in a rip current off Barricane Beach and carried out to sea.

Ilfracombe’s lifeboats were launched by 6.10pm and made their way to Woolacombe through thick sea fog.

Visibility was down to 50 metres and they searched the coastline before requesting the Appledore lifeboats search beyond Baggy Point at Croyde and Saunton.

At 8.10pm the coastguard reported the surfers had been found safe on shore.


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Ilfracombe coxswain Andrew Bengey said: “Search conditions were difficult in the sea fog however we are very glad that the surfers were found and that no one was hurt.

“With the surf conditions today, the waves were very big and should only be attempted by experienced surfers confident in their abilities.

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“We would ask everyone who is thinking of entering the water to follow RNLI advice and take extra care as there are no lifeguards in duty. Now is not the time to be trying out new watersports, or for inexperienced people to be surfing.

“Anyone entering the water should be aware of rip currents and should check the weather and surf forecast as well as sea temperature and tide times.”

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