Film footage captures rescue of young windsurfer on Exmouth beach

The dramatic rescue of a young windsurfer, who said he thought he was going to die, has been caught on film by his rescuer.

At around 1pm yesterday (Thursday, August 20) at Exmouth beach, the father of a young windsurfer alerted lifeguards that his son was in difficulty in the water. The casualty had been taken out by the ebbing tide and was unable to get back to safety.

RNLI lifeguard Dom Brown launched the rescue watercraft (RWC) and located the casualty. Dom guided the casualty to hold on to the sled of the RWC, and brought him back to shore.

A camera carried by Dom caught the action.

And according to Dom, as he approached the windsurfer in the water, the youngster told the lifeguard he needed help.

Dom said the young man told him he thought he was going to die and thanked the lifeguard for rescuing him.

Lifeguard Dom Brown approaches the young windsurfer

Once the casualty was safely ashore, RNLI lifeguard Connor Gray then joined Dom on the RWC to locate the windsurfer’s kit.

The Coastguard requested the launch of Exmouth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat to recover the kit, which was drifting out to sea in the surf. The lifeguards remained with it until the inshore lifeboat crew were on scene and able to recover it.

The young man grabs the back of Dom’s rescue craft

Henry Irvine, lead lifeguard supervisor for the area, said: “Lifeguard Dom Brown did a great job yesterday, quickly responding to and rescuing the casualty in challenging conditions.

Another rescue mission on Friday

“We are experiencing some dangerous sea conditions at the moment and Exmouth seafront is not a good place for beginner windsurfers at the best of times.

“The RNLI is advising anyone heading to the coast to make sure they are going to a lifeguarded beach and heed the lifeguards’ advice. If you see a red flag at a lifeguarded beach, do not enter the water, as it is unsafe for any water activities. If there are no flags, there are no lifeguards.”

There was also another rescue in the Exmouth area in the early hours of this morning (Friday, August 21).

The volunteer crew at Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat Station were sent to a casualty with a serious shoulder injury on board a vessel on the River Exe.

Exmouth’s RNLI temporary Lifeboat Bridie O’Shea was launched at 01.17am following a request from the Coastguard to attend a report of an injured male on board a 40ft motor cruiser moored on off Star Cross.

The casualty had fallen and sustained a significant shoulder injury that required urgent attention.

The lifeboat, commanded by coxswain Steve Hockings-Thompson and volunteer crew Andrew Stott, Harry Griffin, Guy Munnings, James Earle and David Preece, immediately made its way to the location of the vessel. 

Due to the nature of the casualty’s injury, three of the volunteer crew boarded the boat and administered first aid at the scene, before assisting the vessel to shore and a waiting ambulance.

Steve said: “The injured person had slipped, fallen on deck and sustained a nasty injury. Even on the River Exe last night, the conditions were severe with strong currents and winds gusting at 40 knots that made manoeuvring a challenge. For that reason and taking into account the injury sustained by the man, we decided not to conduct a transfer to the lifeboat.

“Three of my crew took charge of the vessel, administered first aid to the casualty, who was taken to the marina and a waiting ambulance. We were pleased to be of assistance and wish the gentleman a speedy recovery.”

Devon Live