A panicking 12-year-old girl was rescued from drowning by RNLI lifeguards training on the beach at Gorleston last week.

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On Wednesday, August 29, RNLI (Royal National Lifeguard Institution) guards taking part in fitness and competency tests on the beach saw two children in the sea near the breakwater, at the northern end of the beach.

It was 8.30 am and a strong southerly wind and ebbing tide were pulling in the same direction, causing a dangerous rip current generating around the breakwater.

The lifeguards stopped training and warned the children of the dangerous current, asking them to leave the water for their safety, which they did.

About 20 minutes later they noticed one girl had gone back into the sea and was caught in the current by the breakwater, being dragged out rapidly to deeper water. Panicking and in clear difficulties, She was waving her arms in the air and appeared to be panicking and in difficulties, with her head sinking beneath the water.

Senior Lifeguard Nick Ayres swam out to the girl, pulling her above water and bringing her ashore with the help of another lifeguard on a rescue board.

Once back on the beach they performed routine first aid checks and returned the children to their parents in the nearby hotel.

Lifeguard Supervisor Daniel Tyler, who was also at the training session, said: “It is very fortunate the lifeguards happened to be on the beach early that morning, and were able to prevent a tragic outcome.

“This incident reminds us all that you should always swim at a lifeguarded beach during opening hours, our teams are here from 10am-6pm to advise beachgoers about the current conditions and hazards, such as rip currents and offshore winds.

“We would also remind beachgoers that children should be supervised by an adult when playing in and around the sea. If you do get into trouble in the water, raise your hand and shout for help, and a lifeguard will come to help you.”

Full time lifeguard cover - 7 days a week, 10am-6pm - is on the following Norfolk beaches; Sheringham, Cromer East, Mundesley, Sea Palling, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, between 16 May - 16 September 2012 and East Runton, Cromer West and Hemsby, from 7 July to 2 September 2012.

The new RNLI beach safety app, featuring a search function for lifeguarded beaches as well as local safety advice, is free to download from http://rnli.org/safetyandeducation/stayingsafe/beach-safety/Pages/Beach-finder-app.aspx

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