Lifeguards rescued 32 people in ONE HOUR after they became stuck in a dangerous rip current on a popular holiday beach.
The RNLI team decided to stay on past their normal finish time of 6pm after realising there was too many people in the water in dangerous conditions for them to leave.
They rescued a total of 32 people who had fallen from a bank of sand on Polzeath Beach in Cornwall and straight into the path of a rip current.
The bathers – who were all safely brought back to shore – included seven swimmers and 25 bodyboarders – and several children.
Senior lifeguard Ben Miskowicz, coordinated the rescue which involved colleagues Chris Rowlands, Phil Bartlett, Scott Temple, Christian Parker and Craig O’Rourke.
Ben said: “The conditions at Polzeath this week are particularly challenging, we have a high tide, strong onshore winds and large swell.
“The winter storms have changed the typography of Polzeath and now at high tide we have some rip currents at both the northern and southern end of the beach.
“The northern rip is particularly prominent at high tide at the moment.
“I was at the cliff top unit at the south end of the beach and Chris was at the northern end while Craig, Phil and Christian were in the water on rescue boards.
“As we had a higher view we were able to spot casualties and guide the lifeguards in the water to them.
“I could see how strong the rip was, when the lifeguards stopped paddling on the rescue board they were pulled away very quickly, it was incredibly strong.”
The team eventually packed down the beach at 7.30pm, an hour and a half after their normal operational finishing time.
Chris Wafer, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said: “The lifeguard team did a fantastic job last night in challenging conditions and received praise from many members of the public for their efforts in keeping people safe.
“We’ve seen strong onshore winds and a big swell combined with spring tides in recent days which have created these difficult conditions.
“If you are heading to the beach please speak to the lifeguards to find out the hazards and take heed of their advice.”