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'They are extremely lucky': Major rescue effort as teenager plummets 15ft from sea wall

PUBLISHED: 18:08 11 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:09 12 May 2019

The ladder being lifted out of the sea at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick Howes

The ladder being lifted out of the sea at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick Howes

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A teenage boy has been hailed a hero after his friend plummeted 15ft into the sea, prompting a major multi-agency rescue.

The drama unfolded around 2.40pm on Saturday, May 11 after one of the youngsters, who was cycling on the North Denes sea wall in Lowestoft, fell off his bike and plummeted around 15ft .

In danger of his head slipping below the water, the other teenage boy went down to help him, and his prompt action in lifting his friend's head above the rising water while they waited for help has been hailed as heroic by HM Coastguard.

Firefighters on the ladder at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick HowesFirefighters on the ladder at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick Howes

At high tide the pair soon found themselves in difficulties as the waves lashed over them, and the emergency services were alerted.

Three fire crews, Lowestoft police officers, HM Coastguard rescue officers from Lowestoft and Gorleston, the East of England ambulance service, the Magpas air ambulance, a Unimog off road vehicle used by the fire service and Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat, Patsy Knight, all responded to the water rescue close to Ness Point.

Lowestoft Lifeboat was launched as two youths were rescued from North Denes, Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick HowesLowestoft Lifeboat was launched as two youths were rescued from North Denes, Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

The teenagers were wet and "very cold" and one youngster was injured having fallen onto concrete below.

After being stuck on the rocks and groynes area, they were quickly rescued by firefighters, after safety equipment, a rope and a ladder was used to retrieve them.

Two lifejackets were lowered down to the casualties before the two boys were lifted back over the wall using throwlines and a ladder in a joint multi-agency effort.

With firefighters carrying out the rescue, crew commander Ian Self, from Lowestoft South fire station, said: "On arrival there were two lads in the sea and down on the concrete below.

The Magpas air ambulance at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Magpas air ambulance at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick Howes

"One was injured having fallen and the other is believed to have gone down to help him.

"Both were very cold as the waves had been lashing over them.

A warning sign at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick HowesA warning sign at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick Howes

"The injured boy was in a stable position so we put a ladder down and secured him with a harness before one of our crew went down the ladder and attached a harness and a line to assist him up.

"The other lad could walk himself up the ladder with assistance and they were both taken into the care of the ambulance service and taken to hospital."

The bike in the sea at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick HowesThe bike in the sea at North Denes, Lowestoft, after two youths were rescued. Pictures: Mick Howes

He added: "They were very lucky.

"I don't think they could have stayed there much longer."

The sea wall where the incident occurred. Photo: Lowestoft Coastguard Rescue TeamThe sea wall where the incident occurred. Photo: Lowestoft Coastguard Rescue Team

Praising the multi-agency response, he said: "It was a good team effort to get them out so quickly."

Firefighter Ben Horne added: "It is a good reminder of how dangerous the sea can be."

Claire Hall, station officer at HM Coastguard Lowestoft, said: "We were paged around 2.39pm to reports a lad had fallen over the seawall at North Denes.

"We had at least eight coastguard rescue officers from Lowestoft and Gorleston here, with the fire service able to get a ladder down quickly to get them out of danger.

"This is high tide, it did happen at high tide and it made the rescue efforts dangerous,

"They are extremely lucky - they were cold, but relatively uninjured considering the height the lad had fallen from.

"Remember if you are in trouble or see others in difficulty on the coast make sure you call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

Sgt Daniel Coles, of Lowestoft Police, said: "We were called to reports of two young lads who had gone over the seawall and they were stuck on the rocks below.

"With a multi-agency response it was a great joint effort to rescue them in the conditions - it was a potentially a very serious situation."

A bicycle was later recovered from the sea.

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