Teenager dies in tragedy at sea

RNLI were called out at Central Pier to rescue a teenager in the sea
RNLI were called out at Central Pier to rescue a teenager in the sea
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SHOCKED hoteliers and holidaymakers have described their horror at witnessing a teenager die after falling in to the sea.

The 17-year-old was walking along the sea wall on Lower Walk, next to Gynn Square, when it is believed he plunged in to the sea at 4.25pm yesterday

Two of Blackpool’s inshore lifeboats immediately scrambled to the scene where the teenager was found floating face down in the water close to the sea wall.

Crew member Richard Williams pulled the boy from the sea and efforts to resuscitate him began immediately.

Emergency services including police and paramedics all attended the scene and RNLI crews transferred the boy to a waiting ambulance, but he was pronounced dead at Blackpool Lifeboat Station.

Paul Parton, a member of Blackpool Lifeboat, said: “The whole mood at the station was very, very sad. The whole point of the RNLI is to save lives at sea and we usually accomplish this, but on this occasion the boy has died and we are all very sad about it. Our thoughts go to the relatives and friends of this boy.”

The tragic events unfolded in the same area in North Shore that saw three police officers perish as they tried to rescue a man – who also died – from the waters in 1983.

And in May 2005, two teenagers lost their lives in choppy waters on the same stretch.

Stunned hoteliers and holidaymakers staying opposite the scene on the Promenade watched-on helplessly yesterday as the rescue operation unfolded.

Steve Bennett, 54, joint owner of the Collingwood Hotel, told The Gazette: “It’s quite shocking and really sad, especially when you consider his age.

“I saw the emergency services and the lifeboats trying to reach him.

“But they couldn’t get close enough because of the waves.

“The boats had to go up and come around to get him out.

“A lady threw a ring over the side for him to hang on to but he couldn’t and she was traumatised.”

Malcolm Bishop, 64, a holidaymaker from Wigan, said: “About five police cars and motorbikes all went speeding past the hotel and down to the scene.

“It was clear something serious was going on and it’s very upsetting to hear he has died.”

Margaret Collinge, 58, from the Sedalwood Hotel, on Gynn Avenue, was walking along the Promenade with her husband Peter, when she saw the tragedy unfolding.

She added: “We had just been saying last week this must be the longest stretch there hadn’t been a tragedy.

“We always warn our guests about the current and the tide, especially at this end of Blackpool.

“It’s a horrible incident and I feel for the people it has happened to.”

Her husband added: “It’s awful and you really feel for them. We have been here seven years and nearly every year we hear of someone going in the sea and not coming back.

“It makes you more aware of where the new steps have been built because there are no chains or railings across here.”

Sigrid Reed, 50, owner of the Glenwalden Hotel, has called for more warning signs to be put in place.

She added: “People don’t seem to realise how dangerous it is and I don’t think there are enough signs out there.

“There’s not enough information about how dangerous the sea can be and even if it’s calm they don’t realise how strong the undercurrent is.”