A father described yesterday how he was nearly swept to his death trying to rescue a girl at a beach where a coastguard crew were forbidden from launching their boat.
Lee Dobson, 35, told The Times that he and two other men had been in danger of drowning after going to the aid of a teenage girl swept more than 100 metres out to sea by strong currents.
“I had to leave her because I knew that if I stayed with her there could have been two bodies brought back in rather than potentially one,” he said. “It was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make – to leave her and get myself back in.”
He added: “When I left her I was extremely tired but I was torn between trying to still get her in and trying to get myself in. She was screaming at me not to leave her. That will stay with me for a long time.”
The volunteer lifeboat crew at Hope Cove, in South Devon, had been told not to launch their vessel because of concerns over its seaworthiness. They eventually chose to ignore the advice after becoming convinced that the girl was about to drown.
Despite bringing her safely ashore, the crew now face disciplinary action by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) after deciding not to wait while another vessel was dispatched from six miles away.
Hang them, hang them all.