Three lads riding a giant inflatable duck narrowly avoided disaster after they drifted out to sea.
The trio at Westward Ho! beach had been caught out by the strong tides and offshore breeze from the Bristol Channel.
Thanks to the quick thinking of a paddleboarder, who towed them back to safety, a potentially “dangerous” situation was avoided.
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Volunteers at Appledore RNLI were out on an exercise at the time, and are now urging the public not to take inflatable toys into the sea.
Stating they do not want a repeat of the “dangerous” incident.
In a Facebook post, a spokesperson explained that the men had taken the inflatable out to sea but had been blown offshore but was luckily towed back to safety by a paddleboarder.
The post read: “It is so dangerous to take inflatables out to sea, as an incident last night at Westward Ho! goes to prove.
“Last night, Tuesday 4 June, the volunteers of Appledore RNLI were out in both their inshore and all-weather lifeboats on their normal Tuesday night training exercise, when they were tasked by the Coastguard to divert to Westward Ho! beach following a report from the public that an inflatable with three people onboard appeared to be drifting offshore.”
Eyewitnesses claimed the three men had pumped up the duck before taking it into the water along with a friend who was on an inflatable kayak.
The post continued: “After only five minutes they had drifted out about 75 meters and the friend in the canoe was trying to push them back to shore, which was not appearing to work.
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"The eyewitness called the Coastguard when the duck was 200 metres offshore with the kayaker clearly unable to help.
“A member of the public immediately went out to them on his paddleboard to help and try to bring the men back to shore.
"Struggling against the current the man managed to tow the inflatable closer to shore, where the men all jumped out and swam to the beach.
“The inflatable was immediately blown back out to sea. The inshore lifeboat arrived just as the casualties had all made it back to shore safely, and crew member Del Elsemore swam in to check all four were okay.
"The quick thinking of this member of the public with a paddleboard prevented a nasty situation turning much worse. He was the real lifesaver of the day."
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