Mystery kayaker saves kids

A MYSTERY kayaker helped rescue stranded seagoers in Sidmouth on Wednesday.

Five children and one man got into difficulties between two rock groynes near Chit Rocks at around 5.10pm. Strong winds had created a rip current, and a large wave caught the group unawares.

Eight 999 calls were made to raise the alarm. The rescue involved the Portland coastguard helicopter, Sidmouth lifeboat, Lyme Regis lifeboat and Beer coastguard team. Sidmouth lifeboat PR officer Mark Roden singled the kayaker out for special praise.

“He did a fabulous job,” he said. “He didn’t own the kayak, but just grabbed it and the paddle and had towed two of the children back in before the lifeboat got there. Well done to him, I’d like to know who he was.”

Steve Crick, from Sidbury, was among those who tried to help the bodyboarding children, including his son Alfie, eight, with friends Archie Rowe, eight and Josh Miller, seven. He was in the water for 25 minutes, during which time his core body temperature dropped to a dangerously low 30 degrees. The kayaker brought him in too. He was taken to the lifeboat house and treated for slight hypothermia. Paramedics gave him the all clear after an hour.

“He was in extreme shock, not in good shape,” said Mr Roden.

Helen Crick, Steve’s wife and Alfie’s mum, said that as locals they were well aware of the dangers of rip currents, but that hadn’t made any difference given the conditions. She said: “They were all well within their depth, only thigh-high in the water, and they still got taken out really quickly.”

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She thanked everyone who had helped in the rescue, and called for a “no swimming between the rock barriers” sign to be put up in the area.