Home » KENT » Dungeness » Dramatic occurrence Volunteers from the RNLI lifeboat station in Dungeness rescued an 11-year-old boy who had drifted out to sea in an inflatable dinghy after his desperate mother yelled at him not to try swimming to shore
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Dramatic occurrence Volunteers from the RNLI lifeboat station in Dungeness rescued an 11-year-old boy who had drifted out to sea in an inflatable dinghy after his desperate mother yelled at him not to try swimming to shore

They discovered the boy, who was cold and wet but otherwise fine, more than a mile offshore.

On Tuesday, the 11-year-old was at the beach with his family near Dungeness, Kent.

He was at sea in an orange inflatable dinghy when strong winds caught him and blew him offshore.

On the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, the public descended on nearby beaches and lakes.

As his mother pleaded with him not to swim ashore and to stay on board the dinghy, a member of the public dialled 999 and requested the Coastguard.

The Dungeness volunteer RNLI crew jumped into action and rushed out to find the child.

In the video, the lifeboat can be seen approaching the orange dinghy, with crew members calling out to the boy to ensure he is okay.

In the video, the lifeboat can be seen approaching the orange dinghy, with crew members calling out to the boy to ensure he is okay.

The RNLI footage shows the lifeboat approaching the boy in the dinghy, which is bobbing in an otherwise empty sea.

One male volunteer observes that the dinghy has travelled a long distance out to sea in a short period of time.

The second female volunteer checks on the boy, who is dressed in neon-green swimming shorts, giving him a thumbs up and saying, ‘Well done for staying there [in the dinghy].’

The first crew member hooks the dinghy with a pole and pulls it close alongside the boat, where the second crew member reaches down and picks up the 11-year-old, pulling him onto the boat while holding him tight to her chest.

She speaks to the boy again before making physical contact with him, and the youngster appears relieved and manages a small smile.

The crew also recovered the family dinghy from the water and returned it to shore.

‘I shouted to him to stay still and stay on the boat, and he listened,’ the boy’s mother said.

The crew also rescued the family dinghy from the sea, though the schoolboy is unlikely to use it again anytime soon.

‘I can’t describe how I felt when I saw him drifting out to sea.’ I felt like I had lost him at that point.

‘When the lifeboat crew returned my son to me, I thanked them for saving his life, and one crew member said, ‘we didn’t save him, he saved himself by staying on the inflatable dinghy.’

‘I can’t thank the Dungeness crew enough for saving my child and returning him safely.’

‘The boy’s family on the beach could see their son being blown offshore and realising the situation was quickly worsening did the right thing in calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard,’ said volunteer crew member Stuart Richardson.

‘He also did the right thing by remaining seated in the dinghy until assistance arrived.’

‘When we arrived, he was very cold and scared, but otherwise fine, so we warmed him up with blankets, cookies, and a drink before reuniting him with his parents.’

‘He was discovered more than a mile offshore, demonstrating how quickly an offshore wind can blow an inflatable out to sea, so we would encourage people visiting the coast to always check which way the wind is blowing before entering the sea,’ Stuart added.

‘Also, by choosing a lifeguarded beach where possible and swimming between the red and yellow flags, our highly-trained lifeguards can keep a watchful eye over those enjoying the water,’ says the spokesman.

The RNLI always expects to be busy during the summer vacations; last summer, its volunteers saved 41 lives, 39% of whom were children under the age of 13.

The charity operates 238 lifeboat stations across the UK and Ireland and claims that its lifeboats and crews have saved over 142,700 lives since its inception in 1824.