“Man dies in sea at Gorleston” - that’s the headline on our local news site today, and sad to say we were right there when it occurred…
Like much of the UK yesterday, we were basking in baking hot sunshine and decided towards the end of the afternoon to head down to the local beach in Gorleston for a paddle. We went unprepared, though cobbled together some towels found in the boot of the car, and camped down by the edge of the sea with ice creams all round.
All was lovely - Amy enjoyed paddling up to her waist (fully clothed!) with her dad, while I sat and relaxed watching them. After a moment I realised that the huddle of people about 10-15 metres away from us weren’t the family group I thought they were - they were a handful of people trying in desperation to resuscitate a man who was laying at the edge of the sea. It seems a child found him floating in the water and raised the alarm. He was pulled out of the water, and a brave and calm lady was carrying out CPR and trying hard to get his heart pumping. This was taking place just a few feet from Amy but thankfully I managed to catch my OH’s eye and get him to bring her back over, where we suggested maybe it was time to get dry and changed. Things weren’t looking good, but by now paradmedics had arrived on the scene swiftly followed by the police, and the local coastguard truck. Just as we hurriedly scooped up our belongings, the police started to push people back off the beach to make space for the helicopter to land.
We got back up to the prom and while we finished sorting out our things the helicopter landed on the beach. But sadly by now it seems resuscitation wasn’t possible. The helicopter returned, and the body was loaded onto the coastguard van to be delivered to the waiting ambulance which couldn’t get across the sandy beach. By this time we were heading for our car, feeling a little numb. Amy was full of questions, but we told her the man was being taken to the hospital and he would probably be better soon. When the helicopter arrived most of Gorleston stood to watch - its natural I think to stand and see what’s happening. But when it took off empty handed it was obvious things weren’t good, and the feeling in the crowd took on a different tone.
The identity of the man hasn’t been discovered/released at the time of writing this, but no doubt a local family will be experiencing a dreadful time today. So why am I telling you all this? Well, although that lady who was trying to save his life didn’t succeed, she tried all she could - whether she was trained in first aid or not, she did her very best. At 8 years old, Amy has just undertaken a first aid course at school - and if you’d like to learn too you can find information here: http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx (because you never know).