Looe RNLI crewman Ben Crabb swims ashore to rescue woman

Image caption An RNAS Culdrose crew winched all the people and their dogs to safety

An RNLI crewman had to swim ashore to help an injured woman after a lifeboat was stopped from landing by a huge swell in the sea.

Looe lifeboat volunteer Ben Crabb swam 50m to the beach at Tregantle in Whitsand Bay on Sunday evening.

The woman, who was slipping in and out of consciousness after hitting her head, had been cut off by the tide along with two friends and three dogs.

An RNAS Culdrose helicopter crew rescued the group, including the dogs.

'Tight timescale'

Mr Crabb said: "Getting the boat on to the beach with the amount of surf was a bit tricky.

"We managed to get close enough in for me to swim in.

"It was a bit of an eye opener for a while.

"With the failing light and the surf getting larger we were on a tight timescale."

The crew from Rescue 193 at RNAS Culdrose winched everyone to the top of the cliff in five operations.

"I went up with a German Shepherd dog in a bag and a helicopter crewman went back for the remaining two dogs," said Mr Crabb.

Lifeboat operations manager David Haines said: "Ben did extremely well to swim through the surf and was able to provide essential casualty care treatment to the woman until the helicopter was able to airlift her to the waiting paramedics."

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