Hero lifeguard saves girl from drowning at Devon beach

Lifeguard Jake Butt came to the rescue of a weak-swimmer who was ‘panicking’ in the waters of Sandy Bay beach yesterday (July 27).

The heroic man jumped into action after a girl came up to him and explained her sister was having difficulty in the water just beyond the Easterly edge.

The sisters had been walking along the rock reef when the girl had been washed off the edge in the two to three feet choppy surf.

The girl started to panic, and began ‘climbing the ladder’ to keep herself afloat as much as she could, but kept disappearing from view.

Jake grabbed a rescue board and paddled out to the panicking girl, and dragged her back above the surface and onto his board.

The duo paddled back to the beach, and the girl’s condition was evaluated before given the go-ahead that she was OK.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) would like to remind people to follow their advice if you fall into the water unexpectedly.

Hero Jake Butt rushed to the girl's rescue
Hero Jake Butt rushed to the girl’s rescue (Image: RNLI)

They posted on Facebook: “Please remember, if you fall in to water unexpectedly then ‘Float to Live’ by following the RNLI’s advice:

  • Fight your instinct to swim hard or thrash about – this can lead to breathing in water and drowning
  • Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing

The RNLI also posted the incident in detail, saying: “At 17:30 Lifeguard Jake Butt was moving the westerly red and yellow flag while on waters edge at Sandy Bay with approximately 6 people in the water.

You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with our FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly curated bulletins and sign up here.

“A girl ran up to him to say that her sister was in difficulty in the water just beyond the easterly edge of the red and yellow flags.

“They had been walking out along the rock reef to the East of the flags when the girl had been washed off the edge of the reef in the 2-3ft choppy surf.

“She was a weak-swimmer and immediately started to panic, ‘climbing the ladder’ to keep her head above the water wherever possible, although she repeatedly disappeared from view below the surface. Having radioed the base Jake grabbed a rescue board and paddled out to her.

“Pulling alongside he grabbed her arm and dragged her back above the surface and on to the rescue board. Once on the board he reassured her and checked she was ok, as well as confirming there was nobody else in difficulty, before paddling in to the beach.

“Once back ashore the lifeguards remained with her for 5-10mins while they continued to evaluate her condition and confirm that no further intervention was required.

“Medical advice regarding delayed onset drowning was given and the girl was taken back into the care of her parents at 17:45 for on going monitoring.”

Devon Live