Update: Sea rescue off coast of Southwold following swim

PUBLISHED: 15:42 26 May 2013 | UPDATED: 20:15 26 May 2013

Coastguards at the scene of the rescue in Southwold.

Coastguards at the scene of the rescue in Southwold.

Anthony Carroll

Rescue teams are still searching for one person off the coast of Southwold after swimmers got into difficulty during am annual swim.

It is understood that two people have also been taken to the James Paget Hospital, one by RAF helicopter and one by land ambulance.

Lifeboats from Lowestoft and Southwold, plus Aldeborough went to the scene just after 1pm, along with police and coastguard rescue teams.

It is understood the swimmers were taking part in the Southwold Pier to Pub Swim event when they got into difficulty.

Eyewitnesses spoke of exhausted swimmers coming out of the sea and being wrapped in towels, while a lifeboat hut close to the pier has been turned into a makeshift emergency centre.

Simon Tobin, mayor of Southwold and a member of Southwold and Reydon community emergency group, said two people had been taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion.

He said: “There was a swim with up to 200 people taking part. They got into difficulty about 10 minutes after going into the water by the pier. The search is continuing.”

Organised in cooperation with Adnams of Southwold, the Pier to Swim event had been due to start at noon with the mile-long event ending with a visit to The Lord Nelson Pub, an Adnams Public House.

Part of the beach has been cordoned off and the majority of the swimmers have left the scene.

It is understood that the organisers. who have contact details for all the swimmers, are trying to telephone people to establish if they have been accounted for, while coastguards continue to search the water.

Eyewitness James Dawson, from Dorset, said: “It was really, really tough conditions and people were coming out of the water looking exhausted.”

Other eyewitnesses said when people got out of the water people were wrapping towels around them on the beach to keep them warm.

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