LIFEGUARDS had to rescue a man and two boys who were in danger of drowning as the heatwave sent crowds flocking to South Tyneside’s coast.
The first drama was at 3pm on Saturday, when a 23-year-old man and five-year-old boy got into difficulties while walking across sandbanks at Sandhaven Beach in South Shields.
They were washed off the sandbanks and into the sea, and were struggling to keep their heads above water because of a strong rip current.
RNLI lifeguard Alex Gray swam out to them and supervisor Sean Mills paddled out on a rescue board.
The lifeguards managed to pull the man and boy - who had been dragged under by the current - onto the board and guide them safely back to shore.
The pair had swallowed some water and were feeling sick and dizzy, and were taken to hospital by ambulance for further treatment.
On Sunday, lifeguards had to launch their inshore rescue lifeboat to help four children who had been swept into the sea after playing on the same sandbanks.
Three of them managed to swim ashore, but a 12-year-old who had become separated from the group had to be rescued and brought him back to the beach.
As the youngster had not swallowed any water, lifeguards Sean Mills and Drew Davis gave him the all-clear.
Mr Mills said: “The sandbanks at Sandhaven attracted a lot of attention throughout the weekend and people thought that it would be fun to walk along them – without considering the hidden hazards.
“The tide can quickly wash the sandbanks away or people can be dragged off them by rip currents.
“We spent a lot of time advising members of the public about the dangers, and would always urge people to swim between the red and yellow flags and to visit a lifeguarded beach.”
Finally, at 5.35pm on Sunday, lifeguards liaised with the Coastguard and South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade to go to the aid of a walker who had got into difficulty at the bottom of cliffs at Frenchman’s Bay. He was brought to safety, unhurt.