Warning after teenagers carried out to sea on inflatable ring

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Sea rescuers have issued a safety alert tonight after two teenagers were swept out to sea on an inflatable rubber ring.

Members of the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue service were called to Stokes Bay today to reports of two youngsters in difficulty.

The two girls borrowed the inflatable ring from a group of teenagers nearby and paddled away from the shore.

They were caught by the offshore breeze and tide, which took them further out into the sea.

Concerned onlookers called the coastguard after they were seen struggling to get back to the beach.

Coxswain Mike Allen, from the lifeboat service, said: ‘With offshore winds forecast to continue, and school holidays approaching, it is very important parents and all users of inflatable toys remain vigilant of wind and tidal conditions.

‘We would like to emphasise the dangers of inflatable toys on the water, especially when they are not tethered to the beach.’

After spotting the two girls in trouble, the owner of the inflatable ring took to the water and started to swim after them.

One of the girls on the ring then abandoned the inflatable and tried to swim for the shore.

A teenage boy then also started to swim towards them, leaving four people in the water.

The Gosport inshore lifeboat launched within seven minutes of being paged by the coastguard.

When they arrived at the scene, a passing kayaker who had seen the incident unfold had already assisted the four teenagers, who were aged around 16, back to the shore.

A medic from the lifeboat checked them over.

Mr Allen added: ‘They were all rather embarrassed but none the worse for their experience.’

The incident happened at around 4pm.

It was the 35th call out for the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service so far this year.

It comes after a busy weekend for the sea rescuers.

They attended four incidents on Saturday, including a call-out to reports of large seal near the Bayside Cabin in Gosport.

The lifeboat attended by found the seal was only enjoying the sunshine.

The other three incidents were for vessels which had broken down due to mechanical problems.