Sea Palling rescue: Three men saved by local swimmers

3:45 PM September 2, 2022

4:07 PM September 2, 2022

Three men were saved by local swimmers in a dramatic rescue at Sea Palling beach.

The men in their late 20s had got caught in a riptide between the rock reefs when they were seen struggling yesterday evening, September 1.

A couple from Poringland were on the beach celebrating their 21st anniversary when they spotted the men in the water.

“We were walking down the ramp with our fish and chips when we saw them swimming in between the rocks,” said Jamie Parslow-Williams, a lecturer at the UEA.

“When we heard them start shouting we knew it wasn’t good.

“There were three other swimmers in the water – Tony Webb, Chrissie Ward and Sarah Farrow – who were already making their way over as we were calling the emergency services.

“I think the guys in the riptide were really lucky – they had three strong swimmers helping them and people with proper first aid training waiting for them on the beach.”

A few people enjoying the beach at Waxham this weekend <Sun 28/2/21>. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The three men rescued had got caught in a riptide between two rock reefs
– Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Mr Parslow-Williams, 48, is a former first responder and his wife Kirsti, 44, is a midwife.

“One of the guys made his way out on his own and crawled onto the beach,” he said.

“When Tony and Chrissie eventually got the other two guys to shore they were hypothermic and showing symptoms of secondary drowning – when someone inhales water during a near drowning.

“Then the emergency services arrived – Coastguard, Sea Palling Lifeboat, ambulances and the air ambulance.

“Tony told the guy he rescued just how close it got – that if he hadn’t been able to pull him out soon he would have had to leave him there.

“He said: ‘Either we’d both have died or one of us would.

“It just shows how dangerous it is to swim out to those rocks even for highly capable swimmers. The water’s so strong out there.


Air ambulance, ambulance, Coastguard and lifeboat crews were called to the rescue

– Credit: Jamie Parslow-Williams

“When we were helping treat one of the guys I said to him: ‘You know what you’re going to do tomorrow? Put a nice big donation in an RNLI box’.

“That made him laugh a little which made us all feel better.

“It was all down to Tony, Chrissie and Sarah. They deserve all the praise. They risked their lives to save those guys.”

One of the men rescued was taken to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston for treatment.

Sea Palling Lifeboat has said: “Three men had got into difficulty trying to return from fishing on one of the off-shore reefs.

“Some local very experienced swimmers bravely went into the sea and pulled the men ashore.

“We strongly urge visitors to the beach not to climb the rock reefs, try to swim out to them or swim nearby.

“There is fast-moving water in these areas and across the sand spits as it is directed out to sea and can be powerful. 

“This was a great multi-agency effort and we’d like to thank all those involved.”

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