Felixstowe: Rescued youngsters lucky to be alive after river swim drama

DON’T risk it – that was the stern warning to swimmers today after four people were rescued while trying to cross a treacherous estuary plagued with lethal currents.

Two adults were criticised for setting a bad example – after two youngsters saw them swimming across the Deben estuary and decided to follow.

Coastguards received numerous 999 calls as the young pair – aged just 12 and 14 – got into trouble and began to be swept off by the lethal currents. All four had to be rescued.

Although it’s only around 300 yards from Felixstowe Ferry to Bawdsey, the currents and tides are notorious and have caught out even experienced sailors over the years, and several people have died in incidents at the river mouth.

Ipswich sector manager for the Coastguard, Jo Arlow said the youngsters – a boy and a girl, both from the Kesgrave area – had been “very, very lucky”.

“The adults set an horrendous example to these kids by trying to swim across the river,” said Mr Arlow. “The currents at the mouth of the Deben are very fast moving and no-one should tackle such a crossing.

“Even as people tried to rescue the two youngsters, they were being taken further away by the currents and were very, very lucky indeed.”

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The incident happened about 4.20pm on Tuesday.

Felixstowe Ferry harbourmaster John White in his launch Odd Times and the Felixstowe Coastguard were sent to the rescue.

The youngsters managed to swim to the yacht Burkha and cling to the stern until they could be pulled to safety, while the harbourmaster rescued the two adults.

One of the youngsters, an asthma sufferer, had to be taken to hospital suffering chest pains and mild hypothermia

Mr Arlow urged people to use the ferry if they needed to cross, while they could swim safely in four feet of water parallel to the shore.

“Trying to swim it makes no sense. Just pay the ferryman – your life is worth far more than the few pounds to catch the ferry,” he said

Assistant harbourmaster at Felixstowe Ferry, Stephen Read “We would strongly advise people not to swim there – it is very difficult and too dangerous. Even experienced sailors get into trouble."

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