Beach goers warned of red flag danger

A MAN rescued from the sea off the coast of Essex had ignored a red warning flag banning people from the water, it has emerged.

James Hore

A MAN rescued from the sea off the coast of Essex had ignored a red warning flag banning people from the water, it has emerged.

Beach patrol staff pulled the drowning 22-year-old from the water after he got into difficulties off Clacton's West Beach.

However it has now been revealed that the Colchester man ignored a red flag - used to warn swimmers when it is unsafe to go into the water.


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Last night Pierre Oxley, who is in charge of leisure at Tendring District Council, said he was appalled the man put himself - and his rescuers - at risk when it was “obvious” he should not have been in the sea.

He said: “The signs and flags are not there to prevent people having fun - this is a serious matter and it could be a matter of life or death.

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“Two men have come close to losing their lives in the past week and had it not been for the excellent work of the team we could be looking at a tragedy.”

The drama unfolded on Thursday evening when Tendring District Council's beach patrol team launched their rescue boat and senior seafront warden John Shipman and beach patrol Steve Duggan went to the man's rescue.

They managed to drag him into the boat and got him ashore before clearing his airway.

He had taken in water and they looked after him until paramedics arrived on the scene.

Mr Oxley said the school holidays meant busy beaches and pleaded for people to listen to the warnings of the beach patrol teams.

“They are there to help ensure that everyone - whether they are visitors or residents - makes the most of the beaches, but does so safely and returns home afterwards,” he said. “The very least people can do is heed the warnings. If the team put the red flag up it really does mean that it is not safe to enter the water.”

He advised people to speak to the team if they were unsure about anything related to safety on the beach.

There are teams located at Clacton's West Beach, Frinton Beach and at Walton's Albion Beach.

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