Instructors save woman’s life as pupils assist

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 July 2015

Lifesavers-The Exmouth Watersports' instructors Emily Furness, Diane Hooper and George Cornwell-Brown with Chief Instructor Peter Cousin at Orcombe this week. Ref exe 4523-29-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Lifesavers-The Exmouth Watersports' instructors Emily Furness, Diane Hooper and George Cornwell-Brown with Chief Instructor Peter Cousin at Orcombe this week. Ref exe 4523-29-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

Heroic watersports instructors sprang into action this week to save the life of a woman in distress in the sea off Exmouth during a school activity session.

Instructors from Exmouth Watersports were teaching stand-up paddleboarding to a group of around 20 pupils from Exmouth Community College on Tuesday afternoon near Orcombe Point when the woman was seen struggling.

She was rescued by instructors George Cornwell-Brown and Diane Hooper, helped by caring pupils who stayed calm and ran to fetch blankets and towels to keep the woman warm until ambulance crews arrived.

Max Edmonds, another instructor who was with the group, said: “We saw someone floating in the water. It was a lady in her swimsuit and flippers in trouble.

“George pulled her onto his board. Diane was the person who managed to get her in – it’s a rescue manoeuvre they teach paddleboard instructors.

“When we got to land, a number of pupils rushed up the beach to get blankets and help warm up, while we waited for the emergency services.

“The ambulance crew said if we hadn’t fished her out and helped her, she would have died.”

One of the children in the group, which was made up of pupils aged 12 to 16, said: “We went to get a towel; she was soaking and breathing very heavily.

“My heart was beating. It was quite scary.

“None of us really knew what to do because it was quite scary and she was shaking.

“They told us afterwards that the way we stayed calm helped because none of us as a group started panicking. We just brought the boards up and someone got a towel.”

A parent of one of the children in the group said: “From what I was told, it was quite a traumatic situation.

“I was told the kids were very helpful and they didn’t panic. It was really positive they were so helpful.”

A South Western Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed that an ambulance had been called to attend a woman who had got into difficulties while swimming, and she had been taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.


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