As soon as the D Class lifeboat was recovered from its earlier launch (50/2023), an immediate call was received via VHF radio from HM Coastguard, who had taken a 999 call regarding a mass rescue incident taking place at Rest Bay in the rip current at the point.
Initial reports suggested that a group of eight swimmers were in difficulty, some of whom had been attempting to help others. An instructor from Porthcawl Surf School, a surfer who was previously an experienced lifeguard and an off duty RNLI lifeguard had all gone to the aid of the group. The swimmers were caught in the rip current on the point during the outgoing tide and were being swept out to sea.
The D Class lifeboat was immediately relaunched and made best speed to Rest Bay. The charity’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Rose of the Shires was also launched on service. Coastguard Rescue Teams from Porthcawl, Port Talbot, Llantwit Major and the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter were all also tasked to the incident.
The D Class helm, Joe Missen said:
‘We arrived on scene first to find four teenage swimmers and a body boarder clinging to the surf boards of those who had paddled out to help them, some distance from the shore. Some of the other swimmers involved had already been rescued and were on the beach.
‘The Atlantic 85 lifeboat arrived shortly after us and between us we took the swimmers and the body boarder onboard the lifeboats and dropped them ashore to the beach where the casualties were passed into the care of Coastguard Rescue Teams.
‘Thankfully all casualties were unharmed thanks to the swift actions of those who went to their aid and supported them with their boards until the arrival of the lifeboats. Whilst our advice is normally not to enter the water and put yourself in danger, all those who assisted the swimmers before we arrived included an experienced surf instructor and off duty experienced beach lifeguards. Without their quick actions to help the group of swimmers, on this particular occasion, the outcome could have been very different.’