Yesterday, a number of swimmers who took part in the Southwold Pier to Pub Swim event got into difficulty midway through their swim. As of yesterday, rescue teams were still in search for one person off the coast of Southwold, England. It is also understood that two people were taken to the James Paget Hospital, one by RAF helicopter and the other by land ambulance.
It was after 1pm when lifeboats from Lowestoft and Southwold, plus Aldeborough went to the scene to assist the police and coastguard rescue teams. According to eyewitnesses, exhausted swimmers came out from the sea while being wrapped in towels. At the same time, a lifeboat hut near the pier was being converted into a makeshift emergency centre.
Simon Tobin, mayor of Southwold and a member of Southwold and Reydon community emergency group, mentioned that two people who were taken to the hospital suffered from hypothermia and exhaustion. “There was a swim with up to 200 people taking part. They got into difficulty about 10 minutes after going into the water by the pier. The search is continuing,” he stated.
The Pier to Swim event was organised in conjunction with Adnams of Southwold. It was supposed to begin at noon, with the mile-long event ending at The Lord Nelson Pub, an Adnams Public House. Part of the beach has been cordoned off and most of the swimmers have already left. As of yesterday it was understood that the organisers were doing their best to contact the participants to check if they have been accounted for. Coastguards were also doing their part by continuing to search the water. “It was really, really tough conditions and people were coming out of the water looking exhausted,” said James Dawson, an eyewitness from Dorset.
There were other eyewitnesses who also noticed that once the swimmers got out of the water, towels were wrapped around them on the beach to keep them warm. Initial reports suggested that a total of 125 people were on a boat when it got into difficulties. Out of those 125, the initial reports stated that there were still 70 others who were unaccounted for, but that wasn’t the actual case. For the full story, do check it out here.
This incident once again shows how unpredictable open waters can be. It is so unpredictable that things can change drastically over just a couple of seconds. In Singapore, the Open Water SwimSafer Course was introduced to help individuals learn more and how to deal with such scenarios. For more details, you can refer to Happy Fish Swim School.