12 year old boy swept out to sea on dinghy

A 12 year old holiday maker was swept out to sea in his dinghy off Porthcawl yesterday afternoon. Porthcawl’s RNLI inshore lifeboat launched at approx 5pm with four crew members aboard following numerous 999 calls from onlookers to Swansea Coastguard.

The boy, Michael Lally from the Wirral, was on holiday in Porthcawl with his family when he was swept out from Trecco Bay as an offshore wind blew his dinghy out to sea. His step father tried in vain to swim to his rescue but the dinghy was being blown too fast for him to catch. Fortunately the incident was watched by other people on the beach who quickly dialled 999. Swansea Coastguard paged Porthcawl RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew for an immediate launch. The Wales Air Ambulance was also diverted to attend the incident together with land based paramedics and Porthcawl Coastguard Unit.

Helmsman Alex Denny said:

‘We proceeded at full speed to the area the boy was seen in difficulty. Crew member Jo Missen spotted the dinghy but as we approached and checked it was clear that it was empty. Fortunately someone ashore, thought to be the casualty’s brother Peter, had seen the boy jump out into the sea and attempted to swim. Peter was then able, via the Coastguard, to direct us to where Michael was. We quickly brought him on board and proceeded back to the Lifeboat Station.’

Philip Missen, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Porthcawl said:

‘This was a life threatening situation for Michael but thanks to tremendous team work from members of the public, his family, Coastguards, paramedics and our lifeboat crew, the rescue has been successful and Michael is safely back with his family.’

RNLI Station Press Officer Ian Stroud said:

‘Michael’s mother, Joanne, wanted this rescue to be known about so that it could be a warning to others of the dangers of dinghies and airbeds in open water when there is an offshore wind. Today Michael was saved by members of the public dialling the emergency number promptly and a professional team effort. Although cold and frightened at the time, Michael was later released from hospital following checks that confirmed he was ok. One lesson we would like to point out from an RNLI perspective is that in a similar situation it is normally better to stay in a dinghy as we are more likely to find a casualty quicker than if they are in the sea and also the cold water around our shores can quickly bring on hypothermia.’


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