Sea swimmers warned of risks after emergency rescue in West Dorset

Sea swimmer rescued off Abbotsbury
Emergency services were called to the rescue of a sea swimmer off Abbotsbury (photo by Tom Wallis)

SEA swimmers have been warned of the risks of the sport, after a 19-year-old experienced swimmer had to be rescued off Abbotsbury.

Police, a coastguard helicopter, West Bay coastguard and Lyme Regis lifeboat were called to the scene at about 3pm yesterday (Thursday). The alarm was raised by the swimmer’s friend as he struggled to return to the shore.

A spokesman for Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent was sent along with West Bay and Wyke Coastguard Rescue teams, as well as an RNLI lifeboat to assist the rescue effort.

“The coastguard helicopter, with a paramedic on board, located the swimmer in the water and winched the casualty to safety before making an onward journey to Dorchester hospital so that further care could be provided.”

Lyme Regis lifeboat crew attended and the helicopter was winching the man to safety as it arrived.

This was the second shout of the day for Lyme Regis lifeboat crew – having been called out earlier to assist coastguards after a red flare was spotted off Charmouth – and their third shout of the year.

Police issue warning to sea swimmers

Police have since warned sea swimmers of the risks of the sport, which has become particularly popular in recent months.

A spokesman for Bridport Police said: “Fortunately, the male was safe and well. Please let this lucky escape be a lesson to those who think going for a quick swim in the sea is a good idea.

“The male was an experienced swimmer and yet still needed to be rescued.

“This action put a large demand on many already stretched services and luckily the result was the safe rescue of a person in need.

“Let this post be a message to remind people that swimming in the sea is dangerous, and to exercise extreme caution, especially along our coast as there are very strong currents.”

For more safety advice for sea swimmers, visit rnli.org/safety/choose-your-activity/open-water-swimming

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