Kite surfer thanks his Exmouth RNLI lifeguard rescuers

A kite surfer has thanked his Exmouth RNLI lifeguard rescuers after they pulled him to safety when he got into difficulty in the water off Exmouth earlier this month.

A local kite surfer who thought he was going to die when he got into difficulty in a freak accident off Exmouth earlier this month has thanked his rescuers.

Simon Perk, 56, injured his arm at the start of June after he was dragged dangerously close to rocks when his kite surfing equipment spiralled out of control.

Tangled in his equipment and dragged 300 metres at speed through water, Mr Perk was pulled to safety by RNLI lifeguards Ryan Spring and Matt Childs.

Last week Mr Perk sought out his rescuers and thanked them for their efforts.

He said: “‘ was being dragged through the water at about 10 knots. I thought I was going to die.

“I tried everything I knew to get rid of the kite. It was a good job the lifeguards were there and knew what to do - I am very thankful to them.

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“I have been kite surfing for about seven years and am very experienced. This was purely a freak accident and could have happened to anyone.

“There was a lull in the wind and I was trying to re-launch the kite when one of the lines got caught around my arm. A gust came and pulled the line tight and the kite was out of control.”

Senior RNLI lifeguard Ryan Spring said he had spotted the kit surfer in difficulty, raised the alarm and launched the rescue watercraft (RWC)

He said: “His kite was landing and dropping. I radioed my colleague Matt Childs and by this time, the man’s kite was spiralling in the air out of control.

“The man had pulled both the kite’s safety mechanisms but the lines had got caught around his arm. He was being picked up and pulled under water by the kite and dragged at a speed through the water.

“When we arrived the man had been dragged almost 300 metres in the water and was very close to Maer Rocks.

“Matt jumped off and got hold of the man but we were both now being dragged in the water by the kite.

“I managed to pass Matt a knife and grabbed his ankle and jumped from the RWC to help. All three of us were pulled under water as we managed to cut the kite lines from around the man’s arm about five metres before we hit the rocks.

“The incident was so highly paced and time critical – we weren’t sure if we were going to make it to him before he hit the rocks.

“We put the man on the sled on the back of the RWC and took him ashore. He was very shaken up and had swallowed a lot of water so was taken to hospital by ambulance staff.”