'It was a ludicrous thing to do': Young family spotted peering over sea wall... before being swept off their feet by huge tidal flood wave

Branded 'irresponsible' after peering over sea wall as a huge flood wave crashed on top of them in Cornwall

On most other days, this family would be enjoying a calm seaside stroll with some spectacular coastal views.

But the parents have instead been branded ‘irresponsible’ for taking their two young daughters on a pier walk as a giant flood wave crashed on top of them.

The family were drenched by waves and the father even swept off his feet after deciding to peer over a sea wall in Mullion Cove Harbour, Cornwall.

The unidentified father was spotted holding his daughter in his arms before being swept off his feet by a 20ft wave.

They were among the ‘storm sightseers’ who have put their lives at risk by getting as close as possible to the huge flood waves battering England’s coastlines.

Onlooker Phil Rodda, 56, described how the man dropped his daughter, as he was overcome by the torrent and his family were lucky to escape alive.

The retired civil servant said: 'We went down to see how rough the sea was - but from a safe distance away.

The unidentified father holds his daughter over the sea wall as a huge wave approaches. (SWNS)
The huge wave crashes down, soaking the family. (SWNS)
The mother carries her daughter away after a huge wave soaked her and her father. (SWNS)
'We could see the young family, a man and a woman with three or four kids in all. The man was lifting his little girl up against the railings so she could get a better view.

'Suddenly this huge wave came crashing over the harbour wall and knocked the dad off his feet. He fell back onto the ground, still clutching the girl - they were very close to being swept away.

'The mother then ran over and grabbed the girl before they traipsed off looking drenched and rather sheepish.

'Anyone who knows the sea around here knows what it's capable off so I'm guessing they were from out of town.

'It was a ludicrous thing to do and incredibly dangerous.'

MORE PICTURES AS ENGLAND'S COASTLINE IS BATTERED BY STORMS:
The repair costs for Aberystwyth's promenade is not yet known but the damage will affect Wales's tourism industry. (London News Pictures/REX)
1 / 30
Rex Features
Wed, Jan 8, 2014 11:00 GMT

The sequence unfolded in the same harbour where a couple were swept to their deaths by a wave during a seaside stroll in March 2007.

Patricia Evans, 43, and Stephen Tickell, 42, of Slough, Berks, died on the first day of their holiday as similar storms battered the area.

Police and North Somerset Council contractors closed off The Beach road to traffic in both directions as a safety precaution during the high tide.

It is estimated the tidal surge caused sea levels along the north Somerset coast to rise by massive 13.8m, causing spray to crash over the railings along the prom - soaking some spectators.
Yesterday the Environment Agency slammed those who had ignored warnings to stay away from coastal areas following two deaths in Devon and Cornwall over the festive period.

'Clearly it is dangerous to get too close to these waves,' a spokesman said.

'There is colossal power in these waves that can knock people off their feet. We would advice people to keep well away.

'There have already been two fatalities this year already and urge you not to add to those statistics.’