A 14-year-old schoolgirl who cannot swim narrowly escaped death after she was dragged out to sea along with two other teenagers on Saturday.
RNLI rescue teams raced out to sea from South Shields beach on Tyneside where they found the teenage girl ‘floating beneath the surface’ around 700m from shore.
The youngster was dragged on board and found to be conscious but extremely cold – and was immediately rushed to shore for emergency treatment.
Teams then continued their desperate search to find two other teenagers unaccounted for who were also believed to be caught up in the riptide, Chronicle Live reports.
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However the two missing teens, a girl and boy both aged 14, were later found on the beach – having managed to scramble ashore themselves – where they were treated for mild hypothermia.
The RNLI said in a statement: "The three RNLI crew members beached the lifeboat and started getting the casualties warm and administering oxygen as they were suffering mild hypothermia.
"Once stable, the casualties were put in the lifeboat and also taken to South Shields ferry landing to be placed in the care of another paramedic crew and taken to hospital."
The incident began when panicked calls were made to the RNLI at around 2.50pm amid reports a group of teenagers had been dragged out to sea.
Rescue teams were forced to break off from helping a group they helping helping on a broken down boat to rush to the aid of the youngsters.
All of the teenagers were taken to hospital, and were later discharged.
Ben Bradshaw, from Cullercoats RNLI said the girl who was unable to swim was "extremely lucky" to be rescued.
He said: "She was a long way from the beach and difficult to spot and, if we hadn’t already been launching to another less urgent service, we may not have reached her in time to save her.
“The south-easterly wind wasn’t particularly strong so we think the teenagers had been caught up in a rip current, which dragged them out to sea.”
Michael Brown, Tynemouth RNLI crew member, added: “The casualties we picked up from South Shields beach were going into hypothermia and weren’t in a good way so we administered casualty care while speeding them to waiting paramedics who took them to hospital.”
Lifeboat teams used the incident to warn people about the dangers of water as the school summer holidays approach.
Spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, Adrian Don, said: "With the Summer approaching we’d recommend anyone heading to the seaside to check out the RNLI’s comprehensive guide to staying safe at the beach at www.rnli.org/safety/beach-safety and our guide to staying safe in and around water at www.respectthewater.com .
“As we’ve seen today the sea can be very dangerous and unpredictable so we just want people to be safe while they’re having fun at the coast.”
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