Lifeguard warning after girl rescued
The RNLI has warned of the dangers of swimming away from lifeguarded areas after a young girl was dragged out of her depth off the South Devon coast.
RNLI lifeguards Ivan Burton and Tom Ballantyne were patrolling the red and yellow flagged bathing area at Blackpool Sands, near Dartmouth, when the incident happened on Saturday.
They spotted the nine-year-old girl in the water at the western end of the beach about 150 metres away. She was being dragged away from the beach and was struggling in the conditions, which included a large shore break and strong winds.
Senior RNLI lifeguard Mr Burton sprinted down the beach and swam out to the youngster, while Mr Ballantyne responded on a rescue board. She was safely brought back to the shore.
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RNLI lifeguard supervisor Liam Krige arrived during the incident, which happened at about 1.30pm, and maintained patrols of the bathing area.
Back on the beach, the girl, who was severely shocked, was given oxygen. Paramedics and coastguard officers were also on scene and the girl was taken to hospital for further checks.
Mr Krige said: "This incident is a good example of why our advice to families is to visit a lifeguarded beach as our trained lifesavers were there and able to help this young girl."