Swimmers save woman

PUBLISHED: 01:01 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 15:53 09 June 2010

FOUR Exmouth men have been hailed as heroes after rescuing a drowning woman from the sea. Surfers Jonathan Hawkins, 22, of Sherwood Drive, Dave Trelease, 25, of Valley Way, Bradley Perkins, 21, of Briar Close, and Ben Wright, also 21, of Brixington, pluck

FOUR Exmouth men have been hailed as heroes after rescuing a drowning woman from the sea.Surfers Jonathan Hawkins, 22, of Sherwood Drive, Dave Trelease, 25, of Valley Way, Bradley Perkins, 21, of Briar Close, and Ben Wright, also 21, of Brixington, plucked an elderly woman from massive waves off the north coast of Cornwall, writes Becca Gliddon.Coastguards described the Exmouth friends' life-saving skills as 'heroic'.A coastguard spokeswoman said the drowning woman, believed to be in her 60s, was in the water off Padstow for more than two hours after getting into difficulties while swimming in the nearby Trevone Bay."She was very lucky these young men were on hand to rescue her. It could have been a tragedy," said the spokeswoman. "It seems she was caught by the rip currents and swept away."The drama began when the four friends, in their winter wetsuits, catching the massive waves, heard what sounded like howling coming from the water.Looking around, they noticed an elderly woman just metres away from them was trying to stay afloat in a swell of up to six feet. Jonathan, a duty manager at Exmouth's Cranford Club, said: "With the sun hitting her, she looked like a seal. When we paddled over, we realised it was a human."Dave added: "You could see she was in trouble. She could barely lift her arms. She was in a terrible state, barely conscious, and screaming really badly." The men struggled to lift the woman onto one of their boards and between them towed her back to shore."The whole thing took about 45 minutes because we were so far out," said Jonathan, a former beach lifeguard. "She was in shock and her skin was really yellow. Her eyes were glazed and couldn't focus. She had definitely taken on water and, when we were towing her back, she was delirious."Back on land, Dave raced to their nearby parked van, where he alerted the coastguard and ambulance, then ran back with warm clothing and a sleeping bag. "We did all we could to keep her warm. I didn't think she was going to make it," he said.The men battled to keep the woman, a regular swimmer local to Padstow, from slipping into unconsciousness until the air ambulance arrived. Paramedics gave her oxygen before taking her to Treliske Hospital, where she was made stable and allowed home.

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