Bracklesham beach team thanked for saving a life

Bracklesham beach
Bracklesham beach

A MAN who nearly drowned has thanked the foreshore team at Bracklesham Bay for saving his life.

The 58-year-old from London thanked the team, after the incident on Wednesday, July 30.

Deputy foreshore officer, Neil Foster, was alerted at midday by beachgoers who saw a man who seemed to be drunk, staggering close to the water’s edge.

“It was a busy day, the beach was quite full and there were lots of people out swimming and with their kayaks and so on,” said Neil. “This guy had gone out, swum out a fair distance and come back, but there was no indication anything was wrong at first.

“Someone came running up to me and said there seems to be someone drunk on the beach. By the time I got to him, he was conscious, but in a bit of a state and I did think I might need to do CPR at some stage.”

The man was not in fact drunk, but had swallowed sea water and was drowning. With the help of another bather, Neil dragged the man out of the water and placed him in the recovery position.

Neil alerted Solent Coastguard which called for an ambulance.

“All the time I was reassuring the guy,” said Neil. “You could see from the colour of his face he was not well.

“A family helped me move him up the beach, we had to do that twice as the tide was coming in and someone gave me towels to keep him warm.”

A first responder arrived from the Witterings Estate and then an ambulance arrived. The man was then taken to St Richard’s Hospital.

“Usually we don’t get to find out what happens to a casualty, but on August 2, the man drove down from his home in London.

“He came and shook my hand and said ‘thank you’. We found out his name was Anthony and that he was 58. He had been on drips for several hours before he was able to go home.

“This is my job, and looking after people is what I’m here for. I don’t want lots of praise, but for me it was about knowing he was alright, that he’d made it through. I’d also like to thank the family that helped me, they were very good.”

Other accidents the team have had to deal with include a female kitesurfer who was injured after landing headfirst, a windsurfer who suffered a severe gash to his leg and horse riders thrown off after their horses were spooked.

Foreshores Officer, Martin Gillam said: “Neil was fantastic and he kept calm when others may have panicked. It’s not the first time we’ve had to deal with an emergency and it means a lot to us when somebody comes back to say thank you.”