Off-duty RNLI lifeguards rescue three people in separate incidents

Off-duty RNLI lifeguards have come to the aid of three people in separate incidents both on the Causeway Coast and in County Down. Remarkably, the incidents took place within days of each other.

Following her daily patrol on Downhill Beach last Saturday (6 August 2022), senior lifeguard Cara Telfer was enjoying a swim with her family after 7pm when she observed a boy deep in the water about 150m from the shore.

“When I got out of the sea after our swim,” saysTelfer, “I said to my dad that I wasn’t happy with the boy being that far out on his own in case he would get into trouble.”

Telfer says she saw the boy’s mother waving and calling to him. Telfer explained that she was a lifeguard and asked if the boy was a good swimmer. When the mother revealed he wasn’t, Telfer went to rescue him.

“I swam in and by this stage the boy was further out and behind the breaking waves, but his head was still above the water. I asked him to hold on to my arm and we swam in until he could stand and then we walked to shore.”

Also off duty, lifeguard supervisor Stuart Montgomery was driving between beaches on the County Down coast when he stopped at Kilkeel Beach to let his dog out to get some water.

As he did this, Montgomery observed a man in difficulty in the water, approximately 150-200m from the shore. The man was splashing and scrambling to stay afloat. Montgomery swam to his rescue at which point the casualty was going under the water. Having brought the man safely ashore, Montgomery checked he hadn’t swallowed any water, or hit his head. Afterwards, the man was able to walk off the beach unaided.

On Saturday 06 August, also in County Down, senior lifeguard Paddy Murphy had just finished his daily patrol on Tyrella Beach and was driving home when he came across a a man having a heart attack on the side of the road.

Murphy got out of his car and double checked with those gathered that an ambulance had been requested before doing an initial assessment and then administering casualty care. Murphy provided constant monitoring until the ambulance arrived.

Speaking following the incidents, regional lifeguard lead Michael Thompson says: “I want to commend and thank Cara, Paddy and Stuart who without doubt made a huge difference in all three incidents. Their selfless and courageous efforts despite being off-duty is testament to the dedication of our lifeguard team and it is very reassuring and pleasing to know that their knowledge, skills and training will immediately kick in regardless of time or place when they see someone in difficulty.”

Catch up with all the latest news from the RNLI.