KAYAKERS TELL OF ORDEAL
Rescued father and son feared they would die in icy waters:
A DAD has revealed the moment his son asked for a final kiss goodbye as the pair nearly drowned when their kayak began to sink in freezing water.
Firefighter Paul Rowlands and 13-yearold Joe were nearly a mile out to sea when their vessel flipped over.
The 50-year-old got Joe to sit on the upturned kayak and tried to haul himself up next to him.
But the vessel would not take his weight, so he remained in the water off Lligwy beach on Anglesey, and began to kick his way back to dry land dragging the kayak and his son with him.
But after a half-hour struggle he realised they had not moved.
Mr Rowlands said: “At this point I realised our only chance of survival was to leave the craft and swim to a rock sticking out of the sea a approximately halfway y between us and the shore- line.
“I was just thinking about t keeping Joe safe and knew w we needed to rescue our- selves and quickly. Although h the sea was calm that day, it t was extremely cold.”
He added: “Joe said he e thought we were going to o die and his final wish was a kiss from me.
“Although I reassured him that we were going to be fine, the thought also crossed my mind and I feared for both our lives.”
The pair kissed each other and Mr Rowlands told his son he loved him very much before they set off swimming.
Mr Rowlands passed out several times due to hypothermia and exhaustion, and his last memory of the ordeal was thinking his boy was safely on a rock.
As Mr Rowlands drifted in and out of consciousness, Joe jumped back into the sea to drag his dad to the rock, where he managed to haul him out of the waves.
The youngster began chest compressions on his unconscious dad, with water gushing from his mouth, followed by mouth-to-mouth rescusitation until he came around.
Joe pleaded with his dad to stay awake and together they made their way from the rock to Ynys Dulas island.
They sheltered in a disused open tower previously built for shipwrecked sailors, with Joe constantly talking to his dad to keep him conscious.
Scratched and bruised from the rocks during their ordeal, the pair huddled together to keep warm.
Mr Rowlands’ wife, Julie Ann, had alerted the coastguard after her husband and son had failed to return at the appointed time. A huge sea search was sparked involving Moelfre, Cemaes Bay and Penmon Coastguard teams, Moelfre Lifeboat and the HM Coastguard search and re rescue helicopter.
Two and a half hours after Mr Rowlands and Joe made it to the island the coastgu guard team arrived and b brought them to safety. They were taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, were th they were treated for hypoth thermia, cuts and bruises. Mr Rowlands, from Nantwich, a station manager with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I would like to thank the RNLI for coming to our rescue that day.
“Without this resource both myself and Joe wouldn’t be here today. I can’t thank them enough.
“Joe also saved my life that day and was extremely courageous in a life and death situation.
“As a reward I bought him the phone he’d always wanted, but I know I can never really repay him for saving my life. I’m extremely proud of him.”
Lligwy Beach with Ynys Dulas