Heroes rescue pair from the sea

TWO heroes today told of the moment they plunged into the waves to save a father and his young son from drowning in a dramatic sea rescue at Felixstowe.

TWO heroes today told of the moment they plunged into the waves to save a father and his young son from drowning in a dramatic sea rescue at Felixstowe.

A fun day playing on the beach for the family of five turned into a terrifying ordeal when the dad and his eight-year-old son got in difficulty swimming near the groynes at Jacob's Ladder.

With the tide flooding in, the pair suddenly found themselves struggling and unable to get back to shore.

David Coates and Elias Barham heard the mum and her other two children screaming and shouting for help and immediately ran down the stone steps from the cliff-top and dived into the sea.

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Mr Barham, owner of the EB Carpets shop in Walton, Felixstowe, and who lives on the cliff-top, grabbed the lifebuoy while Mr Coates swam out to reach the pair.

“We heard a blood-curdling scream and we could see from the top of the cliffs that it was serious,” said Mr Coates, 38, a financial services recruitment manager, of Thundersley, Essex, who was visiting Mr Barham and his wife Rosie.

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“When you see people in trouble like that, especially a child, you don't even think about it, you just go for it.

“The mum was really panicking and when I got out to the dad, he was having problems keeping hold of his son because there was a bit of a swell.

“He was worried about leaving his dad, but his dad told him to climb on my back and we would come back for him.

“After I swam in with the boy I went back out and swam in with his dad.”

Mr Barham said he had seen the family earlier in the day on Sunday and they had been fine and having a lovely time playing on the beach. It was about 12.30pm when they suddenly heard screams.

“It was a good job we heard them and that I had seen them earlier in the day because we knew exactly where they were.

“They were in serious trouble when we reached them and it was such a relief to get them back safely to the beach,” he said.

- Were you the family involved in the incident - would you like to pay tribute to David Coates and Elias Barham? Get in touch with the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

Stay safe at the beach:

- Always read the signs and know which flags mean it is safe to swim in the sea

- Steer clear of the currents - these are areas of fast moving water which the sea can hide. They can be very powerful and drag you out to sea so only swim between the red and yellow flags

- Watch out for waves, which can be dangerous and drag you into the sea

- Watch the water and keep an eye on the tides especially if you are looking in rock pools

source: RNLI

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