Girl saved from sea at Porthcawl Rest Bay by hero, says mum

Image source, Pippa Gulliford
Image caption,
Megan Gulliford and sister Cerys posed for this photograph earlier in the day

A mum has praised an off-duty lifeguard for saving her daughter who was dragged into the sea while paddling.

Megan Gulliford, 12, was jumping in the waves at a beach in Porthcawl, Bridgend county, when she suddenly found herself out of her depth and being pulled away from shore by the current.

A "huge wave" threw her on to rocks at Rest Bay before the man stepped in, but not before she suffered minor injuries.

"We can't thank him enough," said mother-of-three Pippa, from Bridgend.

The family have been trying to find the man - who described himself as an off-duty lifeguard - to say thank you.

Her post on Facebook has been shared more than 700 times.

The RNLI, which does provide some lifeguard cover at Rest Bay, is trying to find out if the lifeguard has ties to its organisation.

It said "rip currents" can "quickly take you from the shallows out of your depth" and it advises people to follow local beach safety advice.

Megan was not intending to go into the sea when she visited the coast with her big sister, Cerys, and her boyfriend, Kieran, on Monday.

I’m trying to find the lifeguard who saved Megan Gulliford at Porthcawl this evening! Megan was swept out and threw into...

Posted by Pippa Gulliford on Monday, September 14, 2020
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Dressed in shorts and a T-shirt she was jumping over incoming waves when one wave pulled her out of her depth and, despite her efforts, she was unable to swim to safety.

"I realised I couldn't reach the floor," she said.

"My sister was calling me and I was screaming and crying. I thought I was going to die.

"A huge wave pushed me forward and I swam to the nearest rocks. Five seconds later a huge wave threw me over the rocks."

It was then that the man appeared on the scene, pulling her to safety and eventually carrying her back to shore.

Megan believes another wave could have taken her back out to the sea had she not been rescued.

She suffered cuts to her body from the rocks.

Ms Gulliford said her eldest daughter had also been injured trying to get to her sister and had feared Megan had hit her head on the rocks.

"It could have been a totally different situation," she said, adding that people needed to be aware of possible dangers when paddling in the sea.

"Kids need to be super aware of the strength of the sea," said Ms Gulliford.

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