Bude beach death mother 'may have been saving sons'

Northcott Mouth
Image caption RNLI lifeguard cover ended a day before the incident at Northcott Mouth

A woman who died after being caught in a rip current at a Cornish beach may have gone into the sea to rescue her children, the RNLI has said.

The woman, aged in her 50s, and her two sons - aged 11 and 13 - got caught in a current off Northcott Mouth, near Bude, at about 14:00 BST on Monday.

Both boys were unhurt, but their mother was pronounced dead after being taken to North Devon District Hospital.

Lifeguard cover at the beach had ended a day earlier.

'Quiet beach'

The boys had been bodyboarding when they got into difficulty.

One made it back to shore on his own. The other was rescued by two men, who also alerted emergency services.

Steve Instance, RNLI lifeguard inspector, said the woman and her children were the only people in the water at the beach when the tragedy occurred.

"We believe that the woman had gone in to rescue the boys," he said.

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Media captionWhat should you do if you see someone who falls into the sea?

It is not known if the family were local or were on holiday.

RNLI lifeguards from Crooklets beach, which is linked to Northcott Mouth at low tide, drove to the scene as soon as the alarm was raised.

Mr Instance confirmed that the "peak season" on some of the rural beaches had ended, with some more rural beaches only guarded during the very peak periods of July and August.

He said four other local beaches, which had more visitors, had lifeguards on duty further into September.

He said: "It is just unfortunate they have chosen to visit this beach the day after the lifeguards finished for the year. It is a quiet beach."

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