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Safety warnings issued after 6 sea deaths in British waters happened over weekend

Over the weekend, 6 deaths occurred in British waters, after high tides and strong winds battered the UK’s coastlines. Three men, two women, and a young boy have been reported to have died.

The tragedies happened off the coasts of Essex, Aberdeen, Dorset, Jersey, and Cornwall.

The first incident, occurred on Friday afternoon at Fistral Beach, in Newquay, where a family were swept out to sea after standing on rocks.

Rudy and Lisinda Bruynius were rescued from the sea, however Mr Bruynius later died in hospital. Their two sons were able to climb back on to the rocks on the beach, however their daughter, who is still in hospital, is reported to be in a serious condition.

The sea in Cornwall was said to have gone from a normal state to have swollen to at least 10ft higher in just 1 hour, which coastguards said caught people off guard.

The following day, a windsurfer in his 60’s, was reported to get into difficulty in the sea off of West Mersea, in Essex.

The man, who was airlifted to hospital, later died.

Hours later, a swimmer had gotten into trouble in harsh seas off of the Poole coast, in Dorset. It is reported that the man had gone swimming beyond the recommended safety areas in Sandbanks.

The man, who is yet to be formally identified, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident.

On the same day, two brothers were swept out to sea, after paddling in the sea off of Aberdeen. Other, including the boy's mother, attempted to rescue them. 5 were taken to hospital, however, Julie Walker, the boy's mother, and her 6-year-old son Lucas, later died.

The eldest of the two boys, 13-year-old Samuel, is reported to be making a steady recovery at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, with Scottish police praising his efforts to save his mother and brother.

Campbell Thomson, Chief Superintendent, said the police were progressing to investigate a “very tragic incident.”

He said: “It is clear heroic attempts were made to save Julie and Lucas by both on and off-duty police officers, emergency service personnel and members of the public, facing treacherous sea conditions and high winds during their rescue bid.

“Their brave efforts cannot be overstated.

“I’d like to pay special tribute to Lucas’s brother Samuel, who very bravely entered the water in an attempt to rescue his mother and brother.”

A 28-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, who were also involved in the incident, have now been discharged from hospital.

Two swimmers, swimming off the coast of Jersey, also got into difficulty on Saturday night, resulting in one losing their life. The woman, identified as Joy Godfray, later died in hospital, after she was rescued by a lifeboat, and her male friend being rescued by a member of the public.

Following the deaths, holidaymakers have been advised to follow these warning issued by The Maritime and Coastguard Agency:

  • Stay away from areas where there are surging waves that could sweep you off your feet, or hit rocks and cause a huge amount of spray
  • Be careful of tides - the agency says it is “easy to become cut off and strong wind conditions will mean that the sea will reach higher levels than expected.”
  • Heed warnings from lifeguards

Speaking on behalf of the UK Coastguard, James Instance, said: “What should be an enjoyable experience could so easily take a traumatic turn, so please do listen to warnings and stay at a safe distance from the water.”

The latest news and advice on costal awareness can be found on The Maritime and Costguard Agency’s blog here