Two Burnham-On-Sea residents have been hailed as ‘heroes’ for their part in the rescue of a woman who was drowning in the sea earlier this week.
As Burnham-On-Sea.com reported here, a woman was saved from the sea next to Burnham’s jetty on Sunday evening.
Passer-by Gareth Peterson first spotted the woman clinging to a signpost on the jetty as the incoming tide swept in around her and immediately used his mobile phone to dial 999 and request the Coastguard.
As he was talking on the phone, Nigel Smith, a former Burnham Coastguard crewmember and a teacher at Highbridge’s King Alfred School Academy, saw what was unfolding while he was walking along the seafront. He says his Coastguard training instinctively ‘kicked in’.
Nigel grabbed a rescue throw line from Sedgemoor District Council’s lifebuoy storage box at the top of the jetty and he threw it to the woman to try and help her to safety, but his hopes were dashed when she didn’t manage to catch it.
As the sea water came in around her, the woman began to move further out into the darkness and moment later Burnham Coastguards and RNLI lifeboat crews arrived to successfully rescue her.
Nigel told Burnham-On-Sea.com he was “happy to help” and was also “thankful” that Burnham’s emergency services arrived so quickly.
He said: “I saw someone stuck in the water at the end of the jetty and my training kicked in almost instantly.”
“Thirteen years of experience in that position as a coastguard meant I knew what to do – it is second nature to me now. I was in the right place at the right time and happy to help.”
Nathan Jenkins, Principal of The King Alfred School Academy, said this week: “This was an amazing heroic act of quick thinking.”
“We are very lucky to have many teachers just like Nigel, bringing learning to life every day, as well as inspiring students with heroic acts such as this one.”
A spokesman for Burnham Coastguard added: “A very quick and efficient rescue with a positive outcome all thanks to the initial call from a member of our community who did an amazing job of calling it in without hesitation and to one of our former Coastguard team members who was quick to act with the throwline.”
“Don’t forget to keep yourself safe when in these situations as we don’t extra persons in danger or worse.”
“If you see anyone in difficulty do the exact thing our community hero did and dial 999 asking for the Coastguards in this weather every second counts and could save a life.”