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Casualty praises RNLI lifeguard who saved his life

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at St Agnes sprang into action on Saturday morning (9 July) after a 999 call alerted them to a man who was in danger of drowning in the sea at Trewellas.

​The casualty, Aaron Hill, 24, had gone for a swim with friends when he found himself in difficulty.

Aaron said: ‘Myself and a couple of friends had climbed down the cliff and into the water, wanting to find a spot where we could jump into the sea from a height just as a bit of fun. We swam between the water’s edge and a rock, but it later became apparent that we had underestimated the severity of the water, and hadn’t realised how dangerous it would be to swim where we were.’

Aaron found that he couldn’t get out of the rough sea, and was struggling to keep his head above the water. RNLI lifeguard Tom Stewart-Leech grabbed the rescue board and quickly paddled across the bay to reach the casualty. Aaron had suffered from multiple cuts to his legs. As well as feeling dizzy, he was sick after swallowing a lot of water, and was in a state of distress.

Aaron continued: ‘It wasn’t until Tom came to my aid that I felt at ease, relieved that there was help available when I needed it the most. Tom was incredibly professional, helpful and positive about the situation, helping to put my worries at ease and he got me back to land safely and as quickly as possible. I couldn’t be more grateful.’

After getting the casualty back to the beach Tom advised Aaron to seek further medical assistance.

Tom Stewart-Leech, RNLI lifeguard, said: ‘Many people underestimate the sea and how quickly you can get into difficulty. Aaron was lucky that he was with other people who were able to raise the alarm and get him to safety. By the time I reached him, he was struggling to keep his head above the waves.

‘We want people to enjoy the coast but remember to respect the water, as it can be dangerously unpredictable. We would advise people to speak to the lifeguards if you are unsure about the tide times and conditions and always swim at a lifeguarded beach.’

Later that same day, Aaron returned to the beach at St Agnes and signed up with the fundraisers to donate to the RNLI as ‘a symbol of his gratitude and debt.’

Aaron added: ‘I never thought I’d find myself in a situation such as this. I would consider myself relatively fit, physically active and confident in the water - but until something goes wrong you don’t know how you will react in a dangerous situation. Fortunately there was help when I needed it the most, and I can’t begin to image how many others like myself, and even those more vulnerable than me, are helped and saved by individuals such as Tom, and all the other brave volunteers and members of the RNLI.’

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign is running throughout the summer. To find out more about the dangers of the coast and how to stay safe, visit www.rnli.org/respectthewater or search #RespectTheWater on social media.

Notes to editors
Picture attached of lifeguard Tom Stewart-Leech, who performed the rescue credit/RNLI

Media Contacts
For further information, please contact either Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854479 or aysha_bryant@rnli.org.uk  or Chloe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920 818807 or email chloe_smith@rnli.org.uk    

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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