Boxing Day hero rescues woman from Eastbourne sea

A woman had to be rescued from the sea during a Boxing Day swim on an Eastbourne beach.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 4:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 9:44 am
Hamish Burns
Hamish Burns

Emergency services were called to the beach near the Bandstand at around lunchtime on Thursday, December 26, following reports that a woman was struggling in the water.

A 23-year-old man who was walking with his family along the promenade saw the woman struggling and dived in to save her. The hero is Hamish Burns, a senior water sports instructor abroad, who was with his family from Scotland to see relatives.

Hamish’s dad Kenny Burns said, “Everybody was lined up to go into the water, kids were going in, elderly people were going in. It was dangerous. We saw a lady in danger and drowning. Hamish said ‘I have got to go in, that lady is in trouble’.

“Hamish took off his kit, got straight down to the groynes, dived in and pulled her out. He got her onto the beach and covered her in blankets. She would have drowned if not. All of the family are very proud of Hamish.”

Mr Burns, who drove down from Ayrshire for the festive season, said the weather was ‘ridiculous’ and that there were big waves and it was raining.

Hamish’s grandmother Lois Machin, from Eastbourne, said, “The sea conditions were appalling. Two ladies had gone into the water, we could see one of them was in trouble. Hamish just dived in off the groyne and pulled her out and started resuscitating her. I’m very proud.”

A SECAmb spokesperson said, “Just after midday on Boxing Day we were called after a number of reports came in for an incident at the beach in Grand Parade. We responded to reports of a person who ran into difficulty in the water.

“A total of two ambulances and three cars were sent to the scene, where the woman was assessed and treated before being taken to Conquest Hospital for further tests. The report mentions the woman was doing a boxing day swim.

“We would like to thank anyone who helped prior to our arrival including Hamish. Thank you for your actions and quick thinking.”