Emergency services conducted a successful rescue of a swimmer in distress at high tide in St Ouen’s Bay

* Report from Jersey Fire and Rescue Service *

On Sunday night, emergency services conducted a successful rescue of a swimmer in distress at high tide in St Ouen’s Bay. The swimmer was unable to get back to shore, was not wearing a wet suit, and did not have any flotation aids.

The swimmer was advised to stay beyond the breaking waves to avoid injury and Jersey Coastguard called out the RNLI Jersey’s and Jersey Fire and Rescue Service’s (JFRS) inshore rescue boats at approximately 9:15pm.

The sea conditions were too rough for the JFRS inshore rescue boat (IRB) to launch, so rescue swimmers were sent out, with the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat and inshore rib near on standby.

JFRS’s rescue swimmers managed to get hold of the casualty who was approximately 25 meters out from the shore and after several attempts in treacherous conditions and brought them to shore.

The casualty and a fire service rescue swimmer were then provided with immediate medical attention by waiting paramedics and taken to hospital by the States of Jersey Ambulance Service.

It is believed that the swimmer entered the water much further down the bay, as they were reported in line with the White House (La Don Hilton), drifting north towards Sands.

Jersey Coastguard Watch Officer, Ford Ramsden, said: “This was a difficult rescue, in the dark, at high tide, with rough sea conditions and waves breaking against the sea wall. We would advise islanders never to go swimming late in the evening, as this endangers not only the swimmers themselves, but also the emergency services who are called out to rescue them. The outcome last night was positive, but it could easily have gone the other way.”

JFRS Station Commander, Ryan Hall, added: “Due to the significant swell and high tidal state, conditions were untenable for us to launch our inshore rescue boat, therefore trained rescue swimmers were deployed to enter the water by steps some 100 meters away from the casualty. The rescue swimmer then had to transverse along the shoreline wall whilst being hit by the waves making access treacherous.

“Once contact was made with the casualty, a second rescuer was deployed to assist efforts. Worsening sea conditions made the rescue more challenging, as they were continuously being picked up by waves and thrown up against the sea wall. Despite very dangerous circumstances, once on the scene our rescuers demonstrated their bravery, dedication and unwavering commitment to protecting and serving our community, and I commend them.
“We would also like to thank the members of public who gave their assistance under the supervision of firefighters to manage rescue ropes.”

(Video footage credit, Evan Smith and has been edited by JFRS)
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