Mum saves youngsters from drowning
By Jenni DixonA BRAVE mother has been praised after her courageous actions stopped her young daughter and niece from drowning at sea.Jane Evans, 40, ran into the sea at Southwold fully-clothed to rescue her five-year-old daughter, Mollie, and 10-year-old niece, Jessica, when she realised they were being pulled out to sea by a rip tide.
By Jenni Dixon
A BRAVE mother has been praised after her courageous actions stopped her young daughter and niece from drowning at sea.
Jane Evans, 40, ran into the sea at Southwold fully-clothed to rescue her five-year-old daughter, Mollie, and 10-year-old niece, Jessica, when she realised they were being pulled out to sea by a rip tide.
She managed to get the youngsters to cling onto a wooden fence near some rocks at the end of the harbour pier where there was a ledge to put their feet on.
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It helped them to keep their heads above the crashing waves until a Southwold lifeboat crew came to their rescue.
Mrs Evans, from Oakham in Rutland, said: “At one point I thought 'That's it'. I could not get them back to shore and I just did not know what I was going to do.
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“Two men had already come out and couldn't help and just getting them to the wooden structure was enough for me. It was the first time I made a deal with somebody just to save the children and for me to go.”
Jessica, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, added: “It was very scary and I did not know if we were going to survive and be safe. It was a really horrible experience.”
Mollie, Jessica and Mrs Evans' eldest daughter Alice had all been swimming in the sea in front of their holiday home on Ferry Road when they got pulled from the shore by a rip tide - a strong current that occurs near structures in the sea and river mouths - at about 3.30pm on Thursday.
Alice realised what was happening and managed to swim back to shore with Jessica, but Mollie was unable to get back
Her cousin swam out to help her, but they both got pulled out even further and started screaming for help.
Mrs Evans had been talking on her mobile phone and immediately threw it into the sand on seeing the children in difficulty.
Her efforts at rescuing the youngsters were praised by Southwold lifeboat's operational manager, John Huggins.
He said: “She showed great courage in going in so quickly after them and managed to keep the children's heads above water by getting them to the wooden structure at the end of the harbour pier and they were all hanging on there until the lifeboat reached them.”
The emergency services were called by anxious spectators and a lifeboat crew of Simon Callaghan, Charlie Townsley and helm Cath Fox took 14 minutes to rescue the three from the nearby lifeboat station.
Mrs Evans, Jessica and Molly were taken by ambulance to a doctor's surgery in the town and received treatment for minor cuts and grazes.
Although there are signs prohibiting swimming on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour, Mr Huggins warned people against swimming there.
“People must now beware of swimming near large structures and river mouths because of rip tides which can carry people out. They should always swim in safe, designated areas,” he said.
Roly McKie, duty watch manager at Great Yarmouth coastguard rescue centre, said: “Rip tides can pull you away from the shore and the best thing to do is not to panic and to swim parallel to the shore until you can swim back.”
n Southwold lifeboat crew will be in action today , along with lifeboats from Lowestoft, in a fundraising rescue display.
It will feature Southwold's Atlantic 75 lifeboat Leslie Tranmer, The Spirit of Lowestoft and other local boats off the town's coast at 11am.
The Southwold crew will also stop off in Dunwich to give a life-saving demonstration at 3pm.