Welsh man 'five minutes away from death' when he was swept out to sea by rip current

Ian was saved by RNLI in Porthcawl
Ian was saved by RNLI in Porthcawl -Credit:BBC

A man from Barry, south Wales "swam for his life" after being dragged out to sea by a rip current in Porthcawl. The terrifying scenes aired during Wednesday’s, May 15 episode of BBC’s Saving Lives at Sea.

The man, whose name is Ian, ultimately survived the near death experience but says that his life has been changed by the ordeal. While all this was happening Ian’s family watched on, helpless.

Reflecting on the experience a tearful Ian said: “When I was in the water I was swimming up and down and it felt fine. But then within 10 minutes, the swell suddenly picked up and I thought, there's something wrong here.”

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Ian described how he felt “out of control” by the sheer power of the waves crashing against his body. He added: "I was getting pushed towards the rocks. It was every few seconds. These big six-foot waves are smashing on top of me. It was like being in a washing machine. I thought, I’ve got to swim here and get out of this because I wasn't going anywhere. I just put my head down and I swam, and I literally swam for my life.”

Ian was tearful as he reflected on the experience -Credit:BBC
Ian was tearful as he reflected on the experience -Credit:BBC

It was then that the rip current caught up with Ian. “I had nothing left,” he tearfully admitted. "I couldn't tread water so I just floated. When I was floating I was thinking of my wife and my son because I felt more sorry for them seeing the situation I put myself in. They couldn't do anything about it. Being in that rip current, probably five minutes away from death, I was thinking: Am I going to live or am I going to die?”

After a RNLI lifeboat came Ian said that he felt a “wave of relief” come over him. He was quickly rushed to hospital after swallowing sea water, which can affect your breathing. “You appreciate life a lot more,” Ian said. "It changes your aspects of life having a near-death experience. There's just not any words to say. Thank you. That's all I could say.”

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