Man left struggling to breathe after helping rescue three children caught by tide off Lepe Beach
A MAN collapsed and was left gasping for breath after helping rescue three children caught by the current off Lepe Beach yesterday (Monday) afternoon.
He was one of two bystanders who went into the water to help the youngsters before emergency crews including coastguard teams, RNLI and paramedics arrived at the scene.
The alarm was raised around 5.45pm, with reports the children – believed to under 10 years old – had been swept off the sandbar.
All three were pulled from the water by two bystanders, one of whom, a local man in his 30s, was lying face down on the beach struggling to breathe when crews arrived. The other man had already left the scene.
Cowes RNLI and a Lymington Coastguard team were among those who responded, and they helped treat all four casualties.
They were assisted by a co-responder team from Hythe fire station and paramedics who transported the quartet by ambulance to Southampton General Hospital. Their conditions were described as “non-life-threatening”.
A spokesperson for Cowes RNLI said yesterday: “Cowes lifeboat crossed the Solent this evening to give follow-up support to a life-threatening drama that had involved three young children.
“The incident occurred at Lepe when two men swam out to the children, all believed to be under 10, who were clearly in difficulty.
“Although the rescuers and rescued safely reached the shore, the lifeboat arrived to find one of the men face down on the beach, struggling to breathe.”
They added: “He was given first aid by a lifeboat member, and also then checked by a fireman and a Lymington coastguard before being handed over to an ambulance.”
The man’s rescue efforts were praised as “heroic” by Lymington Coastguard, which also said witnesses did the right thing by immediately dialling 999 to raise the alarm.
All of the children required further treatment as they had ingested a substantial amount of water during the incident, according to a spokesperson for the coastguard team.
Lymington RNLI and a Hill Head coastguard team were also on standby during the incident, which has prompted Lymington Coastguard to issue a warning to Lepe Beach visitors.
“Be aware of local weather and tide conditions at all times, or make enquiries if unsure,” a spokesperson said.
“Always swim within a safe area and within your depth and capability.
“These people had an incredibly lucky escape.”