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Man dies after swimmers caught in rip tide off Norfolk beach

Published 23/07/2016

Ambulances are at the scene of the incident at Sea Palling
Ambulances are at the scene of the incident at Sea Palling

A man has died after a group of swimmers got caught in a rip tide off a Norfolk beach.

The man, 54, was one of two men pulled unconscious from the waves at Sea Palling, 15 miles north west of Great Yarmouth.

Emergency services converged on the major incident, with three helicopters - including two air ambulances - three land ambulances and two RNLI lifeboats going to the scene shortly before 11.45am on Saturday.

East of England Ambulance Service said paramedics treated two men "both in cardiac arrest".

The younger man, who the RNLI said was aged 26, was revived at the scene and taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in a stable condition.

An ambulance service spokesman said: "Sadly a man, believed to be in his 50s, died at the scene."

Two other swimmers, a 16-year-old boy and a man in his 20s, made their way out themselves, the RNLI said.

Coastguards said that they received "multiple 999 calls" about a "small group" that was in trouble in the water. All the swimmers were recovered.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said: "Quite a number of people went into the water to help. There were two people that needed medical attention."

Tim Ash, from the RNLI, said it was a "major incident".

"Four casualties, all males, got into difficulties in the sea in a rip at Sea Palling," he said, adding that it was about "800m away from the lifeguarded area".

"Two of the lifeguards were on the shoreline and they ran down - when they got there the four casualties were all on land.

"A 26-year-old male was not breathing and a 54-year-old male was not breathing. Both had been pulled out by members of the public.

"The other two casualties - a 16-year-old boy and a man in his 20s - got out under their own power with some difficulties and didn't need assistance."

Mr Ash said CPR was immediately given to both men. He said the other two casualties were later checked over by paramedics.

He added: "Our standard message to anyone and everyone is to swim at a lifeguarded beach and between the red and yellow flags."

Mark Ebbage, 56, of Norwich, was with his family at Sea Palling beach when the tragedy unfolded.

"We saw the air ambulance arrive to treat someone," he said.

"They put somebody on a boat and brought it up the beach, then we saw a body bag.

"There were probably around 15 different emergency vehicles here.

"Some of them were down on the beach and some were on the ramp and further down the road.

"One minute they're swimming away enjoying themselves and then this happens. "It's very sad."

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