Aberdyfi: Mum's thanks as son saved during two beach rescues

Sarah Lewis thanked staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd's children's ward for looking after her son Image copyright BCUHB
Image caption Sarah Lewis thanked staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd's children's ward for looking after her son

A mother whose 13-year-old son was rescued from rip currents has thanked those who saved him and warned others about the dangers of the sea.

Rian Lewis Bradburn was one of four people who needed hospital treatment after getting into difficulty in Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, on Sunday.

There were two separate rescues on the beach involving seven people.

A group of friends have also spoken about how they were involved helping in both cases.

Rian's mother Sarah Lewis said she would be forever grateful to those who came to her son's rescue.

"Rian had gone on a trip with his dad to Aberdyfi and was playing on the beach when he went into the sea for a swim," she said.

Image caption Ambulances, the coastguard and the RNLI were at the scene of beach rescues

"He doesn't really remember much but he was with a few other people and they were jumping over the waves.

"All of a sudden he was pulled under by the ripe tide and couldn't swim back to the surface."

Rian was unconscious when he was pulled from the water and was resuscitated by a member of the rescue team before being flown to Ysbyty Gwynedd's emergency department.

He is now well enough to return to his home in Shrewsbury.

His mother added: "We feel very lucky that Rian is still with us, it could have turned out so differently.

"I really want what has happened to highlight the dangers of the sea. I don't want this to happen to anyone else."

Two rescues on the same beach

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Media captionRNLI volunteer Arwel Jones said he brought two teenagers and man out of the water

RNLI volunteer Arwel Jones, 30, said he brought two teenage boys and a man in his 20s back to the beach during the first rescue of the day on the popular beach.

One was resuscitated by his friend Drew Nickless on his windsurf board before all three were flown to hospital.

Then moments later another friend, Alun Edwards, went to the rescue of a woman and three teenage girls.

Recalling the first rescue, Mr Jones, who is from the village, said: "I was walking along the beach with my family and in-laws and my wife Kate spotted two people in the water - then she spotted someone running into the water fully clothed.

"That's when we knew they were in trouble."

He said he saw a life ring on the beach, grabbed it and ran towards the water before swimming up to 100ft (30m) towards the swimmers.

"As I was getting closer to them I could see one of the lads was going under the water," he said.

"I shouted to get them to float on their backs.

"A couple did but the other was panicking too much and had swallowed water."

Image caption The beach is popular with tourists but it has strong currents

He said once he reached them he was able to pull one from under the water and put all three on the life ring.

"It was very lucky a few of my friends were wind and kite surfing at the time," he said.

"I managed to flag them down and the wind surfer took the worst case on his board while the kite surfer dragged the rest of us back in."

'He was very lucky'

Windsurfer Mr Nickless was able to resuscitate one of the swimmers while still on the water.

"He started the CPR process on the water, on the windsurf board. He was sick and started to breathe again. He was very lucky."

He said that as the rescue was under way, the swimmers' parents looked on from the beach: "They weren't in the best state. They were quite upset."

Another four people in trouble

Just after the swimmers had been returned to the beach, another incident was unfolding in the water.

"Two minutes later another four people got into trouble," said Mr Jones.

This time it was Mr Jones' friend Alun Edwards, 28, who went to the rescue.

Mr Edwards said he was out windsurfing when he saw a few of his friends pulling a young man out of the water.

"As that young man was being dealt with, I saw a man running in a panicked state," he said.

He said he took the life ring from Mr Jones and he and Mr Nickless, who had just resuscitated the swimmer from the first incident, headed back into the sea to help.

Image copyright Geograph/Ian Capper
Image caption The lifeboat launched off Aberdyfi beach, which is popular with tourists

He said a woman and three young teenage girls were being dragged under and swallowing water.

"They were all responsive and had a look of panic and shock on their faces," he said.

"It was the look of fear more than anything... they were shocked and cold."

He said he and Mr Nickless brought them ashore before they were flown to hospital.

"The message that needs to be put across is that people who enter the water need to know exactly what they're doing. Clearly they didn't know the way the water works.

"The outcome could have been a lot worse," he said.

'Very proud of everyone involved'

He said everyone who took part in the rescues - brothers Olly, Josh and Will Brown were also involved - are all close friends.

"After it all happened we all had each other and sat around talking about it - they're an amazing group of friends," he said.

He added that both groups of swimmers had been incredibly lucky: "When we pulled the first person out of the water, the coastguard happened to be driving down.

"There was a doctor and an anaesthetist on the beach, so the doctor was assessing [the swimmer who and needed CPR] and the anaesthetist took over.

"All we could do was keep the young lad talking and conscious."

Image caption A number of people called emergency services to report people caught in the rip current

Mr Jones said within 15 to 20 minutes two air ambulances and a coastguard search and rescue helicopter had arrived.

"I've never taken part in anything like this before," said Mr Jones, an RNLI volunteer for 10 years.

"I'm relieved and very proud of everyone involved. We were in the right place at the right time...

"You think about it afterwards, if we were delayed on to the beach by 30 seconds it could have been a lot different. Thank goodness for the life ring...

"I've taken part in rescues before - people from overturned kayaks - but nothing like this before."

He said he had not heard from the casualties since but had been able to speak to some of them before they were taken to hospital: "They were very thankful," he said.

On Sunday the coastguard said a number of 999 calls had been made at about 14:15 BST reporting a number of people "in difficulty" in the water at Aberdyfi.

The ambulance service said it was called at 14:24 BST, following a "beach incident" near Aberdyfi.

It said casualties were flown to Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth and Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.

The coastal village, off the Dyfi Estuary and set within Snowdonia National Park, is popular with tourists due to its long sandy beach and water sports.

Visit Snowdonia's website warns that, while the water looks inviting, "swimmers must take care while venturing out, due to the strong currents around the estuary mouth".

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