Surfers rescue stricken girl in Sidmouth
PUBLISHED: 16:14 20 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 August 2016
A pair of surfers have been praised for saving a little girl struggling in the sea off Sidmouth.
Beachgoers applauded Cameron Smith and Jake Hurson after they raced into the water and brought the stricken youngster to safety.
Cameron, 24, who works at Market Fish, was walking along the seafront with Jake, 22, at about 5pm on Monday when he noticed the young girl seemed to be struggling by the rock groynes opposite the Bedford Hotel.
“She was going under and coming back up again,” said Cameron. “Her mum gave her the thumbs up symbol to see if she was OK, but she waved her arms and went under again. I could obviously see she was not alright. I ran down the beach and jumped straight in and swam to get her. She wasn’t breathing so well when I first got to her. I tried to drag her away from the rocks and called my friend in with the surfboard to come over.
“I kept telling her to just breathe and calm down. We then put her on the surfboard and both paddled her in. The little girl, who was around 10 years old, was quite shaken up and crying a bit.”
The girl’s mum gave Cameron a hug and said thank-you, while other beachgoers applauded.
“When it is rough and you are not local, you are not going to know how dangerous it can get,” said Cameron.
“I go in the sea in the middle of January, so I didn’t really think about myself.”
Guy Russell, senior coxswain of Sidmouth Lifeboat, thanked Cameron and Jake, adding: “It is really good of them to go and help that little girl. On Monday, there were some very strong wind and sea conditions from the east which pushed all the water and waves down towards the end of the beach to the rock island and groynes, so, if you were swimming in the sea, it would have been trying to push you down towards them. Generally, we advise, when there are conditions like this, to stay away from those areas and to especially not swim between them.”
Guy added on that day the lifeboat had been called out and while they were waiting for it to return were called out to rescue two men who were struggling in the currents and had got washed down in front of the rocks, so were struggling to get out the water.
He said surfers tend to have a good knowledge and experience of the sea so know what they are doing, but generally he advised people to never risk trying to save someone unless they were sure it was safe to do.
Guy said anyone who was unsure about anything could speak to them on the beach or someone at the lifeboat station.