Off-duty Exmouth firefighter saves man from sea

A man in difficulty in the sea off Budleigh Salterton was saved by off-duty Exmouth firefighter Nigel Snowshall. Mr Snowshall praised his teenage daughter and her friend for helping save the day.

Nigel Snowshall, also a member of Exmouth Beach Rescue, last week plucked a man to safety from the sea at Budleigh Salterton after his kayak capsized into the water.

Mr Snowshall, 42, said it was thanks to the help of his daughter, Emily, 14, who joined Exmouth Beach Rescue three weeks ago, and her friend, Emily Western, also 14, he was able to concentrate on the casualty’s welfare.

Mr Snowshall, a firefighter for 19 years, said: “They were good as gold. They realised the gravity of the situation and became adults immediately.

“They did what they were asked to do and even strapped the kayak onto the roof of the man’s car, when his wife was unable to do it.

“They made my life a lot easier so I could just deal with the patient.”

The drama unfolded last week when Mr Snowshall, who was on Budleigh beach, was approached by the wife of the kayaker who told the off-duty firefighter she believed her husband was in trouble in the water after falling off his kayak.

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Mr Snowshall paddled out to the man, helped him aboard his kayak and brought him back to safety.

Back on dry land, Mr Snowshall, his daughter and her friend set about warming up the exhausted man before the emergency services arrived.

“He lost his paddle and fishing rod but managed to get them and his kayak together with quite a bit of effort,” said Mr Snowshall.

“By the time he had done that he didn’t have the energy to get back on it.

“When he was back on the beach we had to physically assist him up the beach because his legs wouldn’t work because he was so exhausted.”

The casualty was taken to Exmouth hospital suffering from the cold and later released.

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