Heroic stranger saves 14-year-old caught in riptide

Savannah Martin. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Savannah Martin. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

A 14-year-old girl has praised the heroic stranger who saved her life as she fought to keep her head above the waves when an unexpected riptide left her helpless.

Savannah Martin was enjoying the summer heatwave with her two best friends at Lowestoft's South Beach when they decided to enter the sea to cool down - however things quickly took a terrifying turn.

At around 3.30pm last Monday, the Ormiston Denes Academy pupils fell victim to a strong current lurking beneath the waves.

Savannah said: 'We were in between the flags and the water was up to the top of our legs but the waves began to push us towards the (Claremont) pier so we got out.

'We waited a while and it looked like the waves had calmed down so we went back in – I don't really know what happened next.'

Savannah Martin and her mother Kellie Denton. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Savannah Martin and her mother Kellie Denton. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant


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Once again the girls waded into sea to cool down – then disaster struck.

'A massive wave came over our heads and started taking us towards the pier – we were trying to swim to shore but couldn't', said Savannah.

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'It then pushed the other girls towards the shore but kept pushing me out.'

Savannah was dragged 40m offshore before finally managing to grab hold of a leg underneath the pier.

Savannah Martin and her mother Kellie Denton. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Savannah Martin and her mother Kellie Denton. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

She struggled to hang on as the waves repeatedly pushed her under.

She said: 'I just kept thinking to myself don't let go – but I thought I would.'

As the teenager battled the sea her friends screamed for help – catching the attention of a man on the beach who quickly dived in to help.

Savannah said: 'He saved my life; he swam out really quickly and made sure I was above the water.

'I want him to get recognition because there are not many people who would do that for somebody.'

RNLI Lifeguard Todd Davidson was moments behind and secured her to his rescue board before taking her back to shore.

The teenager suffered a number of cuts and bruises on her arms and legs along with a pulled muscle and all three girls were treated for shock.

Savannah added: 'I haven't been back since it happened – it doesn't feel right.'

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