Exmouth RNLI rescues teenagers caught in strong currents

Exmouth RNLI undertaking mud rescue training exercise Credit: RNLI/Tim Thorn

At approximately 5pm Sunday 9 June, both Exmouth RNLI lifeboats were redirected from a training exercise to reports that six teenagers had found themselves in difficulty in the River Exe.

All six had entered the river in the area of Mamhead Slipway and attempted to swim across to Dawlish Warren. They had been caught in the strong currents, with two unable to make it across and clinging to a buoy in the river, with the remaining four making it to Pole Sands where they were then stuck by the rising tide.

Two passing off-duty volunteer lifeboat crew arrived in their own boat moments before the Exmouth Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) George Bearman II and pulled the first two casualties from the water. Satisfied that they were safe, the three volunteer ILB crew then retrieved the remaining four teenagers from Pole Sands and brought them back to the safety of the slipway, where they were given very clear safety advice.

The Exmouth RNLI volunteer crew had been undertaking a mud rescue training exercise on the river with volunteer H.M. Coastguard colleagues from the Dawlish & South Devon teams. Their close proximity to the location of the incident no doubt helped with the very fast response time of our lifeboat.

Exmouth RNLI volunteer crew Geoff Mills said:

'A satisfying outcome to a situation that could easily have ended very badly.

The River Exe has very strong and potentially dangerous currents and is also a very busy boating channel. Attempting to swim across it at any time is dangerous, but trying to do so during a period of such strong tidal flow was very dangerous indeed and could easily have ended in a tragic outcome. It was lucky that our volunteers were already on the river and that two off-duty Exmouth RNLI crew were also in the vicinity.'

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