Video: 120 people rescued after becoming trapped by incoming tide

RNLI Rhyl rescue

The RNLI is reminding people to check the weather and tides before venturing to the coast, as the UK lifeboat charity releases footage of volunteers rescuing 120 beachgoers trapped by a rapidly incoming tide at Rhyl in Wales.

On Saturday (9 September), Rhyl RNLI volunteers launched to warn people of the imminent danger before rescuing those who couldn’t make it off the shrinking sandbank in time.

Along with coastguard teams, the RNLI crew ensured all 120 people – including 80 children and teenagers – were brought to safety, and no serious injuries were sustained as the 6.2-metre tide quickly submerged the sandbank.

“Saturday turned out to be a very busy day, and we are glad the station volunteers, together with the coastguard, were able to assist so many people with no serious injuries to those rescued,” says Rhyl RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member, Kevin Taggart.

“The beach can seem like a big playground, but the tide can come in surprisingly quickly. As the tide moves up and down the beach, the depth of the water changes throughout the day, sometimes by as much as 10 metres, and can trap you on sandbanks, or in coves – 10 per cent of all RNLI rescues in Wales are to people cut off by the tide.

“As the tide comes in, simply walking further up the beach and away to safety might not be an option. Always check the tide times before heading out, and while on the coast, be aware of what the sea is doing around you.”

Now the peak season for RNLI lifeguards has ended, fewer beaches have lifeguards present, highlighting the need to be aware of how to stay safe on the coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI’s water safety lead, says: “As the peak season finishes for RNLI lifeguards and with a reduction of lifeguarded beaches, we’re asking people to continue to take care and be aware of the dangers. If you are planning on swimming at a lifeguarded beach, we highly recommend you swim between the red and yellow flags as this is the safest area and is most closely monitored by lifeguards.”

HM Coastguard has recently issued further pleas for paddleboarder safety, after coastguard teams and RNLI lifeboats conducted 30 rescues involving inflatables and paddleboards on one day this summer.

New figures show the summer of 2022 represented the busiest in six years for the RNLI, with RNLI lifeguards attending more than 10,000 incidents on beaches from July 25 to September 2 last year in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, aiding 13,758 people. This represents an increase in the 4,777 incidents recorded in 2021.

Figures for 2023 are yet to be released.

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