A hero builder rushed to save the life of a six-year-old boy today after he was swept out to sea on an inflatable swan as Britons flocked to the coasts on one of the hottest days of the year.
Sam McKeeder, from Towyn, said the boy was about 200 metres off the shore at Black Rock Sands in North Wales when he found him face-down and unconscious in the water.
The grandfather, who was on the beach with his family when he heard the child’s mother shout for help, patted the boy on the back before he threw up and started breathing again.
The dramatic rescue took place on a day when Britain’s beaches were packed for the second day running, as people all-but abandoned social distancing to bask in the sunshine.
‘He was totally unconscious, I turned him around and patted him on his back and then a lot of water and sick came up, and he started breathing again,’ the granddad told North Wales Live.
The boy’s father had been told to stay onshore by the coast guard while he called 999 and waited for his son with and by the time the boy got to shore there were paramedics waiting for him.
The boy was given oxygen and airlifted to Ysbyty Gwynedd by a coastguard rescue helicopter.
Another man had tried to get to the boy too but the boy was too far away from shore the man was too exhausted.
A spokesman for Holyhead Coastguard said: ‘I wish people would leave the inflatables at home as they are designed for swimming pool not for the sea.’
It comes as Brits swarmed to beaches across the UK during the hot weather this weekend with Friday being the country’s hottest August day since 2003.
People in Bournemouth were seen coming out of tents today after setting them up last night to make sure they would get the best spots.
Local police in North Wales reported ‘a considerable build up of traffic’ in Abersoch as drivers made their way to the beach despite a councillor’s plea for visitors to avoid towns.
In Sandbanks, drivers said they had to wait 40 minutes in a queue to get into the car park.
By the afternoon, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s beach check app showed 19 of its 24 beaches under red alert, warning people to avoid the areas because safe social distancing was not possible.
Today also saw a swimmer die in a water-filled quarry at Bawsey Pits near King’s Lynn in Norfolk.
He got ‘into difficulty’ and emergency services were called this morning after he was reported missing.
Four crews of firefighters used two rigid inflatable boats and a drone to search for the man whose body was eventually pulled out of the quarry.
Swimming is banned in the quarry as it was a sand workings feature with underwater obstructions and deep sides, meaning there are sudden changes in depth.
Three months after cliff divers had to be rescued by air ambulance after seriously injuring themselves at Durdle Door, people were photographed jumping off the cliff today.
The daredevils made their way across the 200-ft-tall arch before diving into the water on the Dorset coast.
Three months ago two men in their 20s were left with life-changing injuries after making the jump themselves.
Dorset police said cliff diving from the arch is ‘critically’ dangerous and jumping into water from 200 ft could be life-threatening.
The chaos comes as the government and councils plea with ‘bold’ young people to continue taking social distancing seriously.
There are fears that young people are unknowingly catching the virus and passing it on to older members of their households.
People’s willingness to socially distance seems to have been diminished by the hot weather encouraging people to flock to beauty spots.
Temperatures remained high in the 30s across the south of England today with more sunshine expected tomorrow and some cooler clouds on Monday.
The Met Office issued a level three heat-health warning for the South and South East of England.
This warning means people should look out for others, particularly vulnerable people such as the elderly, children and people in poor health.
After this weekend of sweltering heat thunderstorms are expected for Monday and Tuesday.
Dan Harris, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said thunderstorms are on the way, with some places likely to be hit with up to 80mm of rain in just a few hours.