Rescued Girls Visit
Hannah Woolacott, 16, and Charlotte Wright, 15, paid a visit to Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat station today (Saturday 23rd October 2010) to say thank you to the volunteer inshore lifeboat crew that saved their lives.
Clutching a thank you card, the girls met the crew for the first time since their ordeal two weeks ago. Charlotte, who had suffered secondary drowning said; “I couldn’t remember their faces very well as I was drifting in and out of consciousness at the time, so it’s really good to meet them. We are just so grateful, if it weren’t for people like this risking their lives to save ours, we wouldn’t be there today.”
Hannah recalls the night; “We had missed the train and so were walking along the Dawlish sea wall, which we had done many times before. It was quite calm but then all of a sudden there was a large wave that swept Charlotte into the sea and a second one that got me straight after.”
The girls, both strong swimmers, tried in vain to work against the current but the waves and conditions made it impossible for them to reach the shore. Luckily, the quick thinking of two young men nearby helped the girls as they were thrown floatation aids to help them stay on top of the water. With the cold and exhaustion the situation was dire. The people on the shore shouted encouragement and said that help was on the way. Hannah held onto her friend Charlotte who had hit her head and was starting to go under the surface.
Quick thinking and excellent training of the RNLI volunteer crew meant that no time was wasted in getting the girls into the boat under very difficult circumstances.
Giles White, Helmsmen on the inshore lifeboat said; “We had one shot at it as the waves were rebounding off the sea wall. We just had to take it.”
The girls spent time with the crew today and were able to ask them questions about the rescue. Giles added: “It is not that often you get to meet the people you rescue and it was a pleasure to meet the girls and see them looking so well.”
Hannah’s mother attended the visit with the two girls and recalled the moment she heard the news of the rescue; “It is every parents nightmare to get a call like that, you just don’t know whether they are alive or dead at that time. I am just so grateful that this is a story with a happy ending, it could so easily have been the other way round.”