Human chain beach rescue ‘saved man’s life’

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Media captionBeachgoers formed a human chain stretching into the surf to try to reach the stricken swimmer

Beachgoers have described the moment a human chain was formed and saved a man’s life when he got into difficulty in the sea.

The swimmer got into trouble in choppy seas off Durdle Door beach in Dorset on Thursday afternoon.

More than 20 people linked arms and entered the sea before bringing the stricken swimmer back to shore.

Coastguard Matt Leat said: “Ultimately the public have helped save that chap’s life.”

Eyewitness Emily Foote said: “It became apparent that actually he was in trouble – he started waving his arms.

“He wasn’t panicking, but he just wasn’t able to get back to shore.

“And it was at that point that a lot of people started gathering and sort of forming this chain.”

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Richard Markham

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Around 20 people linked arms to bring the swimmer back to shore

Ms Foote added: “Everybody on the beach was clapping at the end, so it just goes to show that it was a whole team effort.”

The swimmer “managed to surf a wave and somebody managed to grab him,” witness Jennie Bell said.

“There was a chain of people stretching to the sea as much as they dared.”

Lulworth coastguard said the swimmer was unhurt.

Warning of the dangers of going in the sea in windy conditions, Mr Leat said: “The sea is unforgiving, so you need to respect it.

“You need to look out for your friends and family, and don’t take inflatables to the beach.

“They may seem like a good idea but very quickly you can be blown off shore and then we’re having to deploy lifeboats, helicopters, coastguard rescue teams to rescue people.”

The Jurassic Coast beach has been popular since lockdown restrictions eased.

A man from London in his 20s drowned in June while swimming off the beach, while three people suffered serious injuries after leaping from the landmark limestone arch the previous month.

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