Whitby Lifeboat


Major Incident

Sad Loss Of Life

The 25th August 2010 saw Whitby embroiled in a major seaside incident which resulted in the sad loss of a 17 year young mans life. From our house window my wife noticed a Police vehicle speed down Pier road closely followed by larger Police van and an ambulance. When the coastguard pick up sped past we knew there was something big going on.

I had not picked anything up on my radio scanner and telephoned a friend who has better coverage than I do, but he also had not heard anything. He left to find out more, telephoning me shortly afterwards that an incident involving three teenagers was happening.From what he told me it would seem that a 17 year old boy and two 16 year old girls had gotten into difficulty whilst enjoying themselves on a day trip from Tyneside.

The boy and one of the girls had seeming got out of the water but on seeing the remaining girl still in trouble he had re-entered the water, unfortunately getting into trouble himself. The following three reports are reproduced from two of our local newspapers which spread more light on the sad incident.

Whitby Gazette

Teenager dies in Whitby beach tragedy

The RAF Sea King helicopter lands on the beach after today's tragic incident picture: Ceri Oakes

Published Date: 25 August 2010

By Alex Fredman (Chief Reporter)

A TEENAGER died after getting caught in a rip tide off Whitby's West Cliff beach yesterday afternoon.

The 17-year-old boy and two girls got into difficulty while wading in the sea and had been using an inflatable dingy close to the West Pier when they get into trouble.

Police received an emergency call just after 1pm alerting them to the incident.

RNLI lifeguards spotted the trio in difficulty in the water and recovered the casualties.

An RAF Sea King helicopter landed at Tate Hill beach next to the lifeboat station.

The boy was brought ashore by the inshore lifeboat. He was in a serious condition and was airlifted to Scarborough District Hospital for treatment.

But he was pronounced dead at the hospital just before 2pm.

The two girls (both aged 16) managed to get out of the water. They were both taken to Scarborough Hospital suffering from hypothermia.

Their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

All three youngsters are from the Tyneside area.

Police enquiries into the incident are ongoing.

Witnesses are asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on (0845) 6060247.

Whitby Gazette (2)

Heroic brothers' shock after Whitby beach tragedy

Published Date: 26 August 2010

By Alex Fredman and Amy Sampson

EYEWITNESSES have told of the horrifying moment a 17-year-old boy was caught in a rip tide near Whitby's West Pier on Wednesday and subsequently drowned.

The teenager, from Tyneside, had been swimming in the sea with two girls (16) when they got into trouble just before 1pm.

He was brought to the shore of Tate Hill beach in the harbour by lifeboat and airlifted to Scarborough Hospital by an RAF helicopter but was pronounced dead just before 2pm.

Moments after the tragedy, the beach was re-opened and families continued to play in the deadly waters.

Teenage brothers, who were already in the water, acted heroically as they battled through the rough sea to try and rescue the trio.

Joseph (15) and Tom Ellis (16), from Selby, were playing in the waves when they heard one of the girls screaming, but at first thought it was somebody messing around.

Joseph said: "I tried to grab her but she grabbed me under. It was just really rough, and we had to swim back."

The brave pair were visibly shaken by the tragedy.

The brothers said people on the pier attempted to throw life belts to the swimmers but they did not come close due to the choppy waters.

They believed it took around 10 to 15 minutes for the lifeguards to arrive.

Joseph added: "We thought it was a long time."

An RNLI spokeswoman said: "The RNLI lifeguards spotted the incident and responded as soon as they knew that someone was in trouble.

"The first lifeguard travelled to the scene on a quad bike as the incident happened some 300-400 metres from the patrolled 'safe swim' area and he was joined by a second lifeguard."

The beach and pier were lined with anxious onlookers as the tragedy unfolded.

Holidaymaker Rachel Adams, from Liverpool, said: "We were on the beach, not far from Whitby Pavilion and we saw lifeguards run into the sea near to the West Pier, and within five or 10 minutes the lifeboat had pulled someone aboard.

"We were all very concerned that someone was in danger, and it was all very confusing."

Witnesses close to the lifeboat station near Tate Hill beach then saw the distressing moment the boy was brought to shore and ambulance crews administered CPR before crowds were cleared from the pier so the helicopter could land.

One eyewitness close to the scene said: "After the helicopter left, everyone just looked around, looked at each other and just felt really sad."

The helicopter then returned to collect the two girls from the beach.

One had been brought out of the water by a lifeguard and one had managed to get herself to shore alone.

They were taken to Scarborough Hospital suffering from hypothermia.

Whitby lifeboat coxswain Mike Russell said: "Everyone at the station is devastated about what happened.

"The lifeguards and the lifeboat crew worked so hard to help the lad but unfortunately were unable to save him.

"It was a lovely sunny day but the conditions in the harbour entrance were confused because of a swell caused by the previous day's bad weather and the torrential rain on Monday.

"That made conditions in the water quite challenging for everyone involved."

Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) issued a warning to holidaymakers.

Hilary Jones, SBC's strategic director said: "I would urge anyone taking children and young people to our borough's beaches to always be fully aware of the potential risks and if you are worried about the state of the sea, consult the RNLI lifeguards on site for advice and be extra vigilant when young people are in the water."

The RNLI has no authority to close a beach or to stop people swimming in a certain area.

RNLI lifeguards proactively advise people where they should swim, encouraging people into the patrolled area, but they can not force people to move into this safe zone.

Yorkshire Post

Teenager swept to death by sea during attempt to rescue friend

Published Date: 26 August 2010

By Simon Bristow and Rob Waugh

A TEENAGER died yesterday after he was caught by a rip current and swept out to sea off Whitby.

The 17-year-old youth is believed to have pulled himself clear of the water but returned to the sea to help one of his friends.

Emergency services received multiple calls about the incident from witnesses in the town which was busy with holidaymakers.

The teenager and two female friends were using an inflatable dinghy when they got into difficulty at Whitby's West Pier, a spokeswoman for RNLI Lifeguards said.

The boy, who has not been named but is believed to be from the Tyneside area, used a ladder on the pier wall to get to safety but had gone back to help one of his friends when he got caught in the rip current.

North Yorkshire Police said his friends were two girls believed to be aged 16, also from the Tyneside area.

They were also injured in the incident and were taken to hospital for treatment for hypothermia.

The drama unfolded just before 1pm when Humber Coastguard received multiple 999 calls reporting that three teenagers were being swept out to sea near the West Pier.

Whitby Beach lifeguards went into the water to recover the youths and the coastguard sent Whitby Coastguard rescue team, Whitby RNLI inshore lifeboat and a rescue helicopter from RAF Leconfield to the scene.

RNLI lifeguard Josh Jones reached the water's edge on a quad bike and entered the water, he reached one of the girls first and secured her with a rescue tube so she could float.

Megan Ellis, another lifeguard, took the girl to shore while Mr Jones went further out into the water to reach the boy, who was unconscious.

He kept him afloat until the inshore lifeboat crew reached them and recovered them both into the lifeboat.

The youngster was given emergency resuscitation in the lifeboat until a rescue helicopter arrived and transferred him to Scarborough Hospital.

He was pronounced dead a short time later.

The second girl is thought to have made it to the shore unaided, the RNLI Lifeguards spokeswoman said. Both she and the other girl were taken to the same hospital when the rescue helicopter returned to the beach and their injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

Both were conscious but were very cold and had swallowed a lot of salt water, prompting concerns they had secondary drowning where water enters the lungs. If untreated, drowning can occur several hours later as the water affects breathing.

Katie Gellatly, Humber Coastguard watch officer, warned of the dangers of swimming in the sea.

She said: "This incident reminds us all of the hidden dangers present when swimming at the beach, and we would urge all members of the public visiting the coast to use lifeguarded beaches where possible, and take note of any signs or flags that show which areas are safe to bathe in."

Hilary Jones, Scarborough Borough Council's strategic director, added: "We are shocked to hear of this tragic incident and our thoughts go out to the family of the young boy who lost his life and the other two teenagers involved.

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