Teenager Makes Terrified 999 Call To Coastguard After Getting Stranded While Paddleboarding
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A 17-year-old had to make a brave 999 call to the coastguard when he was stranded at sea while paddleboarding, having thankfully taken his phone with him in a waterproof pouch - a decision that helped save his life.
Alfie had been out paddleboarding in north-west Wales when he became detached from his board.
The waves started getting bigger, and as Alfie became more scared that he might drown, he dialled 999 and asking for the coastguard.
In audio and video footage released by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Alfie can be heard telling the operator: "I'm 400 metres off the coast. Uh, I don't know where it is. By Pwllheli - the two islands off the coast."
The coastguard rescue operator replies: "What's the issue? What's the problem? Are you on a paddleboard or a kayak, or what are you doing at the moment?"
Alfie says: "Right, I had a paddleboard, but now I'm drowning."
The operator tells him not to panic, to stay on his back, keep his mouth shut and to 'stay awake'.
Luckily, not only had the youngster set off with his phone in the waterproof pouch, he was also wearing a wetsuit and a lifejacket - all of which helped save him as he awaited rescue.
The coastguard helicopter was scrambled along with the volunteer crew at Abersoch Lifeboat Station, who reached Alfie just a few minutes after he made the terrified call.
He was then winched up to the helicopter and flown to a nearby hospital, where he was assessed.
Alfie was released the same day 'safe and well'.
"If it weren't for Alfie's lifejacket and phone that day, it could have been a very difference outcome," the RNLI said, adding that the rescue between the RNLI Abersoch and the Coastguard 'highlights the importance of carrying a means of calling for help when on the coast or in the water'.
Commenting on the RNLI YouTube video of the incident, one user wrote: "Respect to you! I can't thank you enough for the work that you do! One day that might be me and it's great to know that you'll come out whatever the weather. Keep it up."
Someone else added: "That is incredible. Well done to everyone involved - and well done Alfie. You did it right."
A third said they now planned to buy a waterproof pouch for their phone.
RNLI Abersoch said on Facebook: "We suggest all paddleboarders carry safety equipment and a form of communication in addition to wearing the safety leash.
"Get proper training, stay within your capabilities and tell someone you're going, and your expected time to return."
If you spot someone in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.