RNLI hero rescues boy swept into River Exe
A young lifeguard was hailed a hero today after she saved a small boy who had been swept off the River Exe sandbar.
The nine-year-old boy, who was with his brother, couldn’t swim and was under the water when RNLI lifeguard Kate Berridge pulled him out.
Kate was doing a routine patrol along the left hand side of the beach when she saw the boy disappear off the end of the sand bar which is exposed in the middle of the river at low tide.
She said: “‘I immediately grabbed a rescue tube and dolphin-dived though the shallow water between the beach and the sand bar before swimming the 20 to 30 metres he’d been swept out by the current.
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“As I reached him, he was completely submerged under the water and I had to dive down and grab him. I pulled him up and swam him back to shore.
“He was all right but coughing and spluttering and exhausted by the ordeal. I took him up to the lifeguard unit and warmed him up while his brother got his Mum.
“It had been a really close call and he was extremely lucky I’d seen him when I did. When I explained what had happened, his mum broke down in tears.
“ It’s certainly been the closest call I have had in all my years lifeguarding.
“His mum took him off to hospital to have a check over as he’d swallowed a lot of water.’
Simon Crayfourd, RNLI lifeguard manager said: “Kate is a very experienced lifeguard with many years under her belt and for her to call this a close one, is pretty serious.
“ Exmouth has a really strong current running down the river and the lifeguards spend a lot of time warning people of the dangers. The area around the sand bar that Kate rescued the young boy from is red flagged which indicates that it’s dangerous to swim there. Although the water may look fine, the current can reach up to four or five knots at certain states of the tide. We’d urge people to take note of the flags and the lifeguard’s warnings.”