Res­cued fa­ther and son feared they would die in icy wa­ters:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Paul and Joe Row­lands af­ter be­ing found by res­cue teams Sarah Hodg­son

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

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