Hero father tells how he rescued boy from sea in Cornwall
A hero father told yesterday how he leapt into rough seas to drag a young boy to safety – but could not save his drowning mother.
Selfless Simon Hill, 39, from Dorset, was walking down Northcott Mouth beach, near Bude in Cornwall, with his family when a passerby told him a mum and two boys were in the water.
The father-of-three dialled 999, threw off his shoes and jumper and jumped into the cold water – dragging one of the stricken lads more than 100 yards to shore.
He then swam 200 yards to the boy’s mum, a woman in her 50s known only as Alison, lying face down in the water – before hauling her to the beach with the help of two lifeguards.
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Unfortunately she could not be revived – as her stunned sons watched on in shocked silence from the beach.
Holidaymaker Simon said: “It was an absolutely horrendous couple of hours. I was in the water for about 45 minutes. I managed to drag out one of the boys, but unfortunately it was too late to save their mother.
“Everyone was just totally stunned by the whole incident – the sea was really rough and it was hell out there.
“I needed treatment from the paramedics as well – I took on a lot of sea water.”
The HR worker was on holiday with wife Joanna, 39, and children Catherine, eight, Olivia, six and Edward, three, in Bude when tragedy struck.
They were enjoying a short-break before the start of the school term and took a stroll along Northcott Mouth beach at around 2pm on Monday.
But just a short while into their journey, Simon was approached by a lady in wetsuit – who told him there was a mum and her two sons struggling in the water.
Simon said: “I immediately phoned the emergency services then stripped off and jumped into the water.
“I came across one of the boys with his bodyboard about 100 yards out to sea. He was struggling and in shock.
“I dragged him back to shore – he kept pointing and saying: ‘my mum is out there’. I went straight back in the water and found her lying face down about 200 yards out.
“She was not conscious or breathing but I did my best to get her back to shore. My family were watching and at times lost sight of me in the sea – it was frantic.
“But I was joined by a couple of lifeguards and we eventually got her back.”
The second son was picked up by an RNLI lifeboat.
Simon is now recovering at home in Wimborne, Dorset, but is still haunted by the episode.
Simon said: “It was tragic for the two boys. Just one day before there had been lifeguards on that stretch.
“It is just dreadful.”