Swimmer in distress at Lulworth pulled to safety by quick-thinking day trippers.
A swimmer was pulled to safety by quick-thinking day trippers after spending almost two hours battling to get back to shore.
The open water swimmer was rescued by a passing boat just outside Lulworth Cove on Sunday after he found himself stranded out at sea, unable to battle through the strong tides.
Stephen Rawson, who runs Shikukai Karate Club in Portland, had chartered the boat from Sirius in Weymouth for the day to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove with six other club members.
Mr Rawson said it was only by chance the boat was in the area as the Lulworth Ranges, military firing ranges, were not active that day.
“The boat driver knew the ranges weren’t shooting that day so that’s the reason we had headed to Lulworth Cove,” Mr Rawson said. “We saw a swimmer with a floatation buoy a couple of hundred metres away. He was waving his arms about and was quite clearly in distress.”
Mr Rawson said the man, who was from Alicante in Spain, was tall, athletic and ‘clearly a good swimmer.’
“He told me he often goes open water swimming in Alicante Bay for two or three hours at a time. He had gone out of the Cove on Sunday and into open water and was swimming fine for about half an hour. But when he turned round to swim back he couldn’t get back to shore.”
Mr Rawson said the man had been battling against the strong tide for almost two hours when the boat found him.
“He didn’t realise we have tides that run along the coast and couldn’t get through it. If we hadn’t been there he would have been a goner. His only option would have been to go with the tide – going further away from potential help. I think he probably would have drowned. There was no one else around. He was very lucky – it could have been a very differnt outcome.”
Mr Rawson commended the driver of the boat, Tim Day, who he said did an excellent job of manoeuvring a potentially dangerous boat close to the swimmer.