Two girls rescued from inflatable swan as it drifted into channel
This is the dramatic footage that shows lifeguards jet half a mile out to sea to rescue two terrified girls.
The girls, aged seven and nine, had been enjoying a family trip to the beach at Minehead, Somerset on Britain’s warmest weekend.
They were sitting on a plastic bird that was attached to a line held by their father.
However, the line slipped through his fingers and in the windy conditions the inflatable craft was swept straight out to sea.
In the one-minute video, volunteers from RNLI race out to sea in a lifeboat as a helicopter hovers above them.
Once the girls have been reached, a lifeguard asks ‘Where’s you mummy?’
One girl points to the beach in the distance and responds: ‘Over there!’
The lifeguard then asks the girl to confirm if just the two of them were on the inflatable – before giving a thumbs up to the helicopter above.
They are then returned to their distraught mum and dad at the beach.
Phil Sanderson, lifeboat helm, said before the dad had time to react the wind pushed the inflatable several yards away.
He said: ‘He waded into the water and tried to swim out to them, but the thing was just moving too quickly and he couldn’t get near it.
‘He did exactly the right thing: he shouted to the girls to stay on the inflatable and then the family dialled 999.’
Phil said that by the time the lifeboats arrived, the inflatable was almost half a mile offshore – and still moving rapidly seawards.
He added: ‘Clearly the girls were very frightened by then, but we soon had them aboard and reunited with their family.’