Minehead inquiry after girls, 5, swept out to sea on inflatable swan

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe girls were rescued by the RNLI

Two five-year-old girls were swept out to sea on an inflatable swan, prompting an inquiry about why no red warning flags were flying at the time.

The pair were sitting on the float in the shallows at Minehead, when a strong gust of wind pulled them out to sea.

They were almost half a mile out in the Bristol Channel before lifeboats and the coastguard helicopter rescued them.

Minehead RNLI chairman Bryan Stoner, said flags should fly on the seafront whenever there is an offshore wind.

Image copyright Paul Scullion photography
Image caption The RNLI team was quickly launched and able to rescue the girls

Station officials are now trying to find out why the system failed.

"The system was put in place some years ago after a lot of pressure from us because we were dealing with a real spate of incidents like this, one of which involved a fatality," said Mr Stoner.

"On this occasion, however, it appears the system has failed, though through good fortune no-one has come to any harm."

Sarah Gurr, mother to one of the girls posted on Facebook: "Thank you so much for saving my beautiful little girl and her friend.

"We will forever be grateful to the RNLI and the rescue helicopter for saving our girls today xxx They were absolutely terrified."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites