Surfers from Exmouth have been hailed as heroes after plucking a drowning woman from massive waves.Dave Trelease and Jonathan Hawkins, backed up by friends Bradley Perkins and Ben Wright, who are all in their 20s, rushed to the rescue of the elderly swimmer off the coast of North Cornwall on Sunday.
The four had headed up to Padstow to catch giant waves that were reported to be rolling in from the Atlantic at Harlyn Bay.Now rip currents are certainly as unpredictable as nearshore rogue waves. But whenever one gets caught in a rip current, it's difficult for the one to be able to calmly think of what to do. The alert surfers are definitely heros that saved the lady's life!
Dave, 25, from Valley Way, Exmouth, said: "There were some very big waves and we were all in our winter wet suits. We were a fair way out, perhaps 100m, when I heard what seemed like howling. It was a terrible noise. We looked and could see a lady just off the point.
"She was about 50m away in a one-piece swim suit. The water was very cold and she must have been about 60 or perhaps older. You could see she was in trouble and she could barely raise her arms.
"Johnny, Bradley and I managed to paddle across to her. She was in a terrible state, barely conscious, screaming really badly and unable to move her arms.
"We got to her and struggled to get her on to one of the boards. She couldn't really help herself, she was barely conscious and she kept falling off.
"Bradley and I were holding her on and Johnny, who was a beach lifeguard at Exmouth, was at the front steering.
"We decided we had to get to the beach as quickly as we could so we rode the waves in. When we got on the beach she had gone a terrible yellow colour and was obviously suffering from hypothermia."
As his two friends looked after her, Dave raced to their parked van nearby, called for someone to alert the coastguard and ambulance and then ran back with warm clothing and a sleeping bag.
He said: "We did all we could to keep her warm and in about 10 minutes the air ambulance helicopter arrived. They gave her oxygen and she was flown out. I didn't think she was going to make it."
A coastguard spokesman said the woman rescued by the lads was local to Padstow and was a regular swimmer who appeared to have got into difficulties while swimming in the adjoining Trevone Bay.
"It seems she was caught by the rip currents and swept away," said the spokesman, who described the surfers' actions as heroic.
"She was very lucky these young men were on hand to rescue her. It could have been a tragedy.
"She was flown to Treliske Hospital at Truro and was made stable before being allowed home later."