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Youngster safe after sea drama

PUBLISHED: 16:29 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:03 05 July 2010

LIFEGUARDS dashed to the rescue of a boy just after 1pm today when he got into difficulties swimming in the sea at Lowestoft.

Christopher Knights was visiting the beach with his family from London when the incident occurred outside the safety patrolled zone, south of the Hatfield Hotel on the Esplanade.

LIFEGUARDS dashed to the rescue of a boy just after 1pm on Wednesday when he got into difficulties swimming in the sea at Lowestoft.

Christopher Knights was visiting the beach with his family from London when the incident occurred outside the safety patrolled zone, south of the Hatfield Hotel on the Esplanade.

Initially the 12-year-old's father, John, 48, attempted to swim to his aid as he clung to a groyne in an area described as a blind spot.

Three members of the public from separate families, thought to be from Stevenage and Leicester, also dived in to try and help, before three duty lifeguards and three volunteer lifeguards intervened and took all five safely to shore.

Paramedics treated Christopher at the scene for lacerations to his chest, exhaustion from trying to remain afloat, and shock.

Three other male swimmers also received medical attention for cuts and bruises, as well as the boy's father.

As a precaution, Mr Knights and his son were taken to the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston.

Bill Austin, Great Yarmouth Coastguard watch manager said: “The call first came as a 999 call from a member of the public. We got in touch with the lifeguards, the rescue helicopter and lifeboat and tasked them all.

“The reason for this was that there were also a lot of other people in the water trying to reach the youngster and it looked like at some stage they were in difficulties as well.”

Mr Austin said although the weather was slightly murky today many people were still choosing to go to the beach to swim in the sea and take advantage of the holiday season.

Stephen Ardley, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing said: “We are thankful for the quick action of the duty lifeguards and the Lowestoft Volunteer Corps and that those involved were returned to safety. Our lifeguards do a fantastic job, as they have shown today, and we are all very proud of the first class service they provide.

“We have been running our Beach Safe campaign with the Lowestoft Journal, in a bid to remind residents and visitors to be aware of the potential risks and to consider their actions. Waveney's lifeguards are patrolling, but it doesn't hurt to be alert. This incident only highlights the importance of this message.

“It is important that you do not swim or play near groynes and piers. If you see the red and yellow flag flying on the beach it means that lifeguards are on duty.

“You will often see two of these flags on the beach and between these two flags is the safety patrol zone, which is the safest area to swim. Always ask a lifeguard for advice about where it is safe to swim if you are unsure.”

Lowestoft Lifeboat spokesman Mike Richford said a crew went out to help in near gale force winds within three minutes or receiving the emergency call.

“The people could have been swept very quickly northwards if they let go of the groynes.

“This incident rapidly changed from one child in trouble to five people needing help. The lifeguards did a superb job,” he said.


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