Brave teenager honoured for saving swimmer off Sea Palling

Teenage David Castleman has been given a Gold Award by The Royal Life Saving Society for rescuing a

Teenage David Castleman has been given a Gold Award by The Royal Life Saving Society for rescuing a man off the Norfolk coast - Credit: Archant

A heroic teenager who risked his life to rescue a drowning swimmer off a Norfolk beach has received an award for bravery.

David Castleman pulled a 26-year-old man unconscious and not breathing from the water at Sea Palling on July 23. The man, and 52-year-old Leszek Puchala, from Poland who was pronounced dead at the scene, had got caught in a rip current.

David, 14, was able to reach the stricken pair, who were both face down in the sea. Realising the younger man still showed signs of life he was able to drag him to safety.

Beach-goers performed CPR on the man and they were quickly joined by lifeguards and other emergency services. He was then airlifted to hospital.

David, from Loughton, in Essex, was honoured this week with a certificate of commendation by The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) for his role in the rescue. The teenager, who was on holiday with his family in Norfolk at the time, passed his RLSS UK Survive and Save gold award earlier this year.

'I could hear screaming in the distance but dismissed it as people messing around,' said David.

'After walking closer, a man approached us and asked for a strong swimmer. I didn't really think too much. I just took off my shirt and ran into the sea.

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'It was quite difficult because the water was trying to pull you out but I managed to tow him to the shore.'

He added: 'I'm very grateful that I had the knowledge and skills to save someone's life. I am pleased to have been awarded by the RLSS UK.'

RLSS UK chief executive Di Steer said: 'We were so pleased to hear about David using the skills he learnt through the RLSS UK Survive and Save programme to save the life of a member of public on his holiday. David is a clear example as to why it is important to have water safety and lifesaving skills.'

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