Screaming mum and two children swept out to sea in Portsmouth Harbour saved by passing boat
A SCREAMING mum and two children have been taken to hospital after being saved in a dramatic rescue when they were swept out to sea.
Horrified beachgoers watched on as the trio had to be rescued by a pilot boat near the Round Tower, in Old Portsmouth.
Witnesses told The News a man leapt into the water to help rescue the trio as the ABP Southampton boat went into action.
Nigel Barnes, 62, from Southsea, had been sunbathing in Bath Square when the drama unfolded.
He said: There was three of them in the water - a girl in red bikini kept a nipper above water. She was screaming like mad.
'I come here a lot and lot of the kids scream. But you could see by that time there was something wrong.
'It’s a really busy bit of water - people don’t appreciate how dangerous it is.
'They were coming in towards the port.
'A patrol boat chucked a ring to them.
'If the boat hadn’t come along they would have been goners.
'A gentleman who lives in the apartments here swam out to help - he let the boat know where they were and he helped them on to the boat.
'It’s a dangerous bit of water - he made a real act of bravery.'
A witness who lives nearby called the coastguard before flagging down the commercial boat to help.
The man, who asked not to be named, said: ‘We waved at the boat like crazy and made loads of noise so they would come and help them. It was very scary as they had been swept out and had nothing to hold onto.
‘The boat did an amazing job as the current is very strong and they were near to rocks as well.
‘It is a relief but this type of thing happens all the time as people don’t know how strong the current is in the harbour.’
South Central Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 1.55pm today with the caller reporting an adult woman and two children in difficulties in the water.
The trio were taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham by ambulance after the rescue as a precaution against secondary drowning. This can happen after ingesting a large amount of seawater.
James O’Kennedy, a paramedic coastguard rescue officer, warned of ‘very serious dangers' at the water near Round Tower.
He said: ‘There are significant dangers to people entering the water at the Round Tower and the Portsmouth Harbour entrance with a real risk of harm and loss of life.
‘The very serious dangers are posed by the depth of the water, the very strong current and close passing shipping. Swimmers should only enter the sea in the areas of the beach which are clearly signed and covered by on-duty RNLI Lifeguards.’
Solent Coastguard echoed the safety message and asked people ‘to take care and look at tide times’.
The 33-year-old was hailed a ‘true hero’ and received a posthumous certificate of recognition from the Royal Life Saving Society.