THE rescuing of a man and a 10-year-old boy who had been swept away by the tide at West Shore Beach, Llandudno was shown as part of a BBC documentary last night (October 19).

“Saving Lives at Sea”, on BBC Two, yesterday showed how Conwy’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew brought the two stranded casualties to safety.

Now in its eight series, the programme documents the lives of the men and women of the RNLI.


Filming for BBC programme takes place in Rhyl and Abergele

Last night’s episode focused partly on Conwy, its RNLI station which has been established since 1966, and its D-class inshore lifeboat, which has a top speed of more than 25mph.

On a warm Sunday in September, with the temperature reaching 24°C, the tide had turned and was on its way in, when Coastguard crews received multiple 999 calls.

After the Conwy crew was told that a man and two children had been cut off by the tide at the far end of West Shore Beach, three miles north-west of the station, the boat was prepared for launch.

Though one of the children managed to swim back to shore before the crew arrived, two people were still in trouble, 100 metres from the shore and up to their necks in water.

Just five minutes after launching, the crew found the casualties in their last reported position, before the child, and then the man, were helped up on to the lifeboat.

Upon their return to the station, the boy appeared to “perk up,” but the man, Alex, required further medical attention, having struggled to get off the lifeboat at first.

“You guys are amazing, by the way,” he told the crew members.

Both casualties were then taken to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, had chest X-rays for symptoms of secondary drowning, and were discharged later that day.

Steve Wade, deputy launch authority for the crew, said: “When the family arrived, it was a very moving experience, purely and simply because they were emotional, and the casualties were emotional.

“It was quite a charged atmosphere at that point.”

Alex had never visited West Shore Beach before, but had had a “lovely day” prior to being swept away by the tide and feeling “instant panic”.

“I just got to the point where I thought: ‘This is it; there’s no coming back from this – I’m going to drown, I’m done for. This is the end of my life’,” he said.

“All of a sudden, it was as if someone had taken the sea floor away. All I could do was try and tread water… I could feel myself going under the water more and more and more.

“It was such an overwhelming experience.”

The event inspired Alex and his fiancée to move forward their wedding, having realised “just how important our time is together, and how little time, potentially, that we all have”.

Next week’s Saving Lives at Sea episode also includes a focus on North Wales; in Llandudno, a father and son have capsized from their kayak on its first outing.

You can watch Saving Lives at Sea on Thursday evenings at 8pm on BBC Two, or on iPlayer.