Surfers rescued in Woolacombe drama

TWO surfers were rescued by the Ilfracombe Lifeboat on Saturday in extreme conditions at Woolacombe. Ilfracombe RNLI All Weather Lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire launched just before midday, after Swansea Coastguard received several 999 calls reporting three

TWO surfers were rescued by the Ilfracombe Lifeboat on Saturday in extreme conditions at Woolacombe.Ilfracombe RNLI All Weather Lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire launched just before midday, after Swansea Coastguard received several 999 calls reporting three surfers in difficulty off Barricane Beach.They had been members of a party of five visitors surfing, when three were caught in a rip tide and washed along the shore. One managed to scramble ashore unaided but the remaining two men were pushed along to a buoy marking the end of the outfalls around 200 metres offshore.The Ilfracombe lifeboat, under the command of 2nd Coxswain Andrew Bengey, was launched immediately. The crew located the surfers hanging onto the outfall buoy and Coxswain Bengey had to manoeuvre the lifeboat close inshore in the four to five feet of surf, before the crew managed to throw lines them and heave them aboard.The pair, both in their 20s, had been in the water for more than two hours before being rescued.The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 106 from Portland also attended and winched both casualties from the lifeboat before flying them to North Devon District Hospital where they were treated for hypothermia."The lifeboat crew did a fantastic job in extreme conditions," said Andrew Bengey."We're all just pleased both men are ok."n THE coastguard helicopter lifts one of the hypothermia hit surfers from Ilfracombe Lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire, which rescued them after they had spent two hours in the water off Woolacombe when they got into difficulty in a rip current.


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