Youngsters escape drowning

A LIFEBOAT official today hit out at the "madness" of youngsters who jumped into a fast-flowing current from a harbour wall.The incident happened only 48 hours after two children had narrowly escaped drowning in the same area.

A LIFEBOAT official today hit out at the "madness" of youngsters who jumped into a fast-flowing current from a harbour wall.

The incident happened only 48 hours after two children had narrowly escaped drowning in the same area.

John Huggins, operations manager for the Southwold Lifeboat, said three teenagers - thought to be about 17-years-old – were seen on Saturday repeatedly jumping into the River Blyth from the harbour wall on the Walberswick side.

"They then drifted with the tide and grabbed hold of a ladder going up the harbour wall.


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"There was a full ebb tide running and if they had missed the ladder they would have been swept straight out to sea.

"This kind of thing is madness – it is the only word I can use to describe it. It shows a total disregard for the their own safety," Mr Huggins said.

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On Thursday the lifeboat was involved in the rescue of two children who had been swept away from the beach area by a strong current.

The mother of one of the children ran into the sea fully clothed to get the youngsters to a wooden structure at the end of the harbour pier and keep their heads above water until the lifeboat was able to reach them all.

Southwold Lifeboat was launched again at noon on Saturday to rescue two children, both thought to both be 13 years old floating in an inflatable dinghy about a quarter of a mile out to sea off Walberswick.

Mr Huggins said the alarm had been raised by a member of the public who had become concerned that the children had been out to sea for some time and were making no headway in their apparent attempt to get back to shore.

He understood that the parents of the children had been unaware of the problem. They were at the lifeboat station by the time the youngsters were landed.

Earlier the lifeboat had been launched for a mock rescue display off Southwold beach as part of the station's annual open day.

It later went along the coast to Dunwich for a similar display in front of a crowd which had assembled near the beachside car park.

Between 200 and 300 people visited the lifeboat station during the open day. The RNLI organised activities for children including a treasure hunt, picture colouring and dressing up in lifeboat crew gear.

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