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Four die in sea incidents as wind and rain wreak havoc

Published 20/08/2016

Gusts of around 60mph are expected along exposed coastlines.
Gusts of around 60mph are expected along exposed coastlines.

A seven year-old boy and a surfer in his 60s are among four people who have died in the strong winds and rain which have battered parts of Britain.

The boy died in hospital along with a 37-year-old woman, believed to be his mother, after a rescue operation at Aberdeen beach.

A major rescue operation was launched after the emergency services were called on Saturday at 4.45pm.

Rescuers pulled three other people from the water including aged 28-year-old man, a 25-year-old woman and a boy of 13 who are all being treated in hospital.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Chief Inspector Stewart Mackie said: "This is a very tragic incident which has resulted in a woman and young boy sadly losing their lives - it will undoubtedly bring shock and sadness to the entire city of Aberdeen and further afield ...

"Given the recent weather conditions we'd urge members of the public to take care, especially when near coastal or beach areas."

The windsurfer in his 60s died in a Colchester hospital after being rescued by RNLI lifeboats off the coast of West Mersea, in Essex, at around midday.

An Essex police spokesman said they are trying to establish the events leading up to his death.

Tragedy also struck a family of five from Surrey on a seaside trip as 13ft waves and 10ft breaking waves lashed at Fistral Beach on the north-west coast of Cornwall yesterday.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said a man who was swept out to sea with his wife and two-year-old daughter, later died in hospital.

Lifeguards rescued the man and his wife, who are in their 30s and the little girl, amid the treacherous conditions while two other children in the family managed to scramble back on to the rocks.

Members of the public had called 999 call on Friday at 5.20pm.

Lifeguards carried out CPR on the man before he was taken by air ambulance to Treliske Hospital. His wife, who has minor injuries, and daughter who is reported to be in a serious condition, are also in hospital. The two other children were taken by ambulance to hospital.

James Instance of the Falmouth Coastguard told BBC Radio 4 news: "We went through a 24-hour period where the waves went from half a metre to three to four metres. You are probably looking at 10 foot breaking waves in this area."

The tragedies happened as gales hit Wales and southern and central England, bringing a very unsettled and blustery end to the recent sunny spell.

Summer events were cancelled at short notice and the Environment Agency called for walkers planning a coastal stroll this weekend to avoid taking "storm selfies".

Craig Woolhouse, Environment Agency flood risk manager, said: "We urge people to stay safe on the coast and warn wave-watchers against the unnecessary dangers of taking 'storm selfies'."

The RNLI urged people to stay clear of any places where waves can sweep you off your feet and to watch storms from a safe distance.

The Bournemouth Air Festival, which had been due to take place along the Bournemouth seafront, was cancelled.

The show was set to feature the Kaiser Chiefs rock band. In a video message Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson apologised to fans saying "the stage was in danger and they didn't want it falling on you, and they didn't want us on it when it fell".

The Met Office had issued a yellow weather warning across most of England and Wales as a low-pressure system moved in from the west.

Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said parts of Devon were hit by 55mph winds, and Wales by 58mph winds, in the early hours of Saturday but that they were expected to be "much much lighter" on Sunday. No warnings have been issued for Sunday.

Severe coastal weather has seen thrill-seekers taking photos and filming themselves in treacherous conditions while videos of people getting swept along by waves have gone viral online.

Temperatures are expected to drop from a high of 28C (82F) earlier this week to the low 20s (68F) or high teens in many parts this weekend.

Warmer weather should return from the middle of next week, just in time for the August Bank Holiday.

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