Swept out to sea. Saved by a spoon

Pick Me Up! Special - - News -

Grab­bing my surf board, I waved good­bye to my hus­band and daugh­ter.

‘Bye guys! I’ll be back in half an hour. Don’t have too much fun with­out me!’ I said.

My hus­band Dave, 47, and I had taken our daugh­ter Bella down to Woola­combe in Devon ev­ery year.

Bella, who suf­fers from se­vere autism, is only eight, but like any other child, she loves be­ing by the sea.

Which is great for me, be­cause Dave can look af­ter her for an hour or so and I can catch some waves, some­thing I’ve been do­ing since I was five.

But af­ter about 20 min­utes of body board­ing in choppy wa­ter, I de­cided to head back in.

I’d bet­ter get back, I thought.

Just then, a big wave hit me and knocked me off the board.

As I hit the wa­ter hard, I knew in­stantly that I’d dis­lo­cated my arm.

Un­able to swim with an in­jured arm, I was rapidly drift­ing fur­ther out to sea.

I tried to sig­nal to the life guard that I was in dis­tress,

but each time I tried, I had to let go of the board – my only life line – to do so. It was hope­less. I started pan­ick­ing. I was tak­ing in a lot of wa­ter and I was so far out by then that I had be­come in­vis­i­ble to any­one on the beach. I am go­ing to drown and no one is go­ing to know I am here, I thought. Sud­denly, an RNLI life­guard on a pad­dle board saw me and came over. He saw that I was in trou­ble and tried to lift me onto his board.

But ev­ery time he tried to get me on it, a wave would come crash­ing in, tak­ing me un­der.

‘It’s not go­ing to work,’ he said. ‘We need a boat.’

I didn’t think I was go­ing to last much longer. My legs were ex­hausted. I’d been tread­ing wa­ter for more than 40 min­utes.

I was be­com­ing des­per­ate, and I kept think­ing of my daugh­ter.

Who would help my hus­band take care of her? What would she do with­out me?

But thoughts of her spurred me on and kept my legs kick­ing.

I knew I had to make it for her.

Fi­nally, an RNLI boat came speed­ing to­ward us across the choppy waves.

Af­ter a lot of strug­gling, they man­aged to lift me into the life boat.

The big­gest man in the boat spooned me to keep me warm. I was shiv­er­ing. When we ar­rived on the shore, Dave and Bella were wait­ing for me with ter­ri­fied looks on their faces.

I’d never been more re­lieved to see them.

But I wasn’t out of dan­ger yet.

I was hy­pother­mic. My whole body was shak­ing.

I was given gas and air as we waited for the

paramedics to ar­rive and given hy­pother­mic blan­kets to warm me up.

Fi­nally they gave me mor­phine and I woke up in hospi­tal a few hours later, hold­ing Bella’s hand.

I couldn’t be­lieve I had sur­vived.

‘We were so wor­ried about you,’ Dave said.

I owe my life to the RNLI.

Af­ter all, if it were not for them, I would not be here and Bella would not have a mother.

We all love the sea

Head­ing out to hit the waves

Re­cov­er­ing at home

Safety of the sand My in­cred­i­ble res­cue

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