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Alderney boys save child, 6, from being swept out to sea

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A SIX-YEAR-OLD child was rescued with the help of two Alderney boys after floating out to sea.

Tobin Collier, left, and Isaac Maurice helped save a six-year-old boy in trouble on the water in Alderney. (28558940)

Tobin Collier, 14, and Isaac Maurice, 13, had previously taken lifesaving lessons at St Anne’s School, which meant they were ready to spring into action at the start of August when they saw someone in trouble in the sea at Braye Beach.

On Sunday 2 August the young boy was holidaying in Alderney with his family and was playing on a paddleboard at high tide in front of the Braye Beach Hotel. The tide turned and started to pull him out to sea by the Douglas Quay.

His dad quickly swam out to try and help.

However, he was not able to swim against the strong tide.

Luckily, Tobin and Isaac were on hand.

A former pupil and a pupil of St Anne’s respectively, they were both given training lessons by their teacher, Angela Etheredge.

When they saw what was happening they decided they could swim the few hundred metres across the bay to catch up with the boy, knowing they had other friends nearby on the beach, and so they jumped into the water.

They managed to reach the paddle board and stopped it from moving any further out to sea, while also calming the boy down and waiting for his parents to reach them.

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Alderney’s water taxi then arrived – having been called by someone else on the beach – and brought the boy ashore, while everyone else carefully swam back with the paddleboard.

‘We are lucky here on the island having Royal Life Saving Society lessons provided by the school, which gave me the confidence and knowledge to assess the situation and take action,’ Tobin said.

Isaac added that he was pleased to be able to put his lifesaving lessons to good use.

‘I was able to recognise the danger and quickly assess the situation,’ he said.

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‘I knew that I could swim the distance in the water conditions and therefore did not hesitate to help.

‘I would tell everybody to learn Survive and Save skills, especially in the sea, as you really never know when it will be needed.’

Mrs Etheredge said the story had created a buzz of excitement in Alderney.

‘It is perhaps an important opportunity to stress to all that the water can be dangerous and that close supervision is required for kayaks, inflatables and paddleboards,’ she said.

‘The boys who swam out to rescue this boy have both had lifesaving lessons at St Anne’s School and were able to assess the situation, consider their options, and change their plan according to the situation, as they have learned. This led to a positive outcome for all.’

After the event, Isaac and Tobin were both thanked on Quay FM by the parents as they sent in a message to show how grateful they were for the help.

St Anne’s school is also sending a letter of appreciation to them both in recognition of their actions.

The school’s head teacher, Martin Winward, said the incident showed how vital it was that they continued to invest curriculum time and resources into staff training to deliver RLSS awards.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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