A teen paddle boarder is grateful to be alive after first responders rescued him from drowning last month. Thankfully, he had his phone when he was swept off his board into the rolling ocean water. Now, audio and video from the incident show first responders executing a daring rescue operation.
Paddle Board Trip Gone Wrong
Seventeen-year-old Alfie was reportedly paddle boarding off the coast of Gwynedd, Wales when he lost his board on August 10. According to WalesOnline, the teen was wearing a wetsuit and life jacket, and had his phone in a waterproof pouch — decisions that would end up saving his life.
That afternoon, the coastguard received a distraught call from the teen, who was separated from his board and trapped amidst huge waves. Alfie told the operator that he was about 400 meters off the coast.
“I had a paddle board, but now I’m drowning,” Alfie told the dispatcher.
A Daring Rescue
Rescuers immediately sprung into action. Volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) joined the coast guard and a rescue helicopter in searching for the boy.
Meanwhile, Alfie stayed on the line with the emergency operator.
“Don’t panic Alfie,” the operator tells the audibly distressed teen. “Just stay on your back and stay awake and keep your mouth shut.”
Thankfully, a rescue boat found Alfie within 40 minutes of the call being made. According to the BBC, the teen was in serious condition from drinking seawater and showed signs of hypothermia.
Still, rescuers say Alfie’s quick thinking and preparation saved his life.
“The rescue could have been very different were it not for the boy’s preparation in wearing a lifejacket and having a means to call for help,” said an RNLI statement.
Upon his rescue, an emergency helicopter immediately flew Alfie to a nearby hospital for treatment. He was discharged the very next day, after which he went with his father to personally thank the rescue crew.
Following the incident, RNLI rep Fritz Williams took the opportunity to promote proper safety for paddle boarders.
“This callout shows just how crucial a lifejacket is and having a means of calling for help,” he said. “A lifejacket can buy you valuable time in a time-critical situation whilst you wait for help to arrive.”
Watch video from the rescue and hear the emergency call below.