Sea rescue heroes recall horror on young boy’s face

Nathan Davies, beach hero
Nathan Davies, beach hero

THE HEROES who rescued a drowning boy have described the horror on the youngster’s face as they pulled him from the rough sea.

Three brave Eastbourne men dived in to the sea to save the young boy at the beach near the Holywell Cafe on May 26.

Martyn Ward, who helped rescue a boy on the beach

Martyn Ward, who helped rescue a boy on the beach

The youngster was unable to swim and had been dragged under the water by the waves.

The terrified youngster’s friend was shouting for help and Nathan Davies (right), his brother Matt Davies and Martyn Ward (far right), the deputy head at St Andrew’s School in Meads, dived in and saved the boy’s life.

Vicki Disney, who watched the drama unfold on the beach, told the Herald about the incident last week. She said the lifesavers should come forward and this week they made contact and described the moment they leapt in to the water.

Nathan Davies, who was believed to be the first man in the water, said he was sitting on the beach with his wife Emma and his brother when he heard the screams.

The 32-year-old said, “At first I thought the screams were someone mucking about but then I looked up and saw him with his arms up, bobbing up and down in the water. The next thing I knew I was in the water.”

Nathan said he is not a very strong swimmer but didn’t think twice about jumping in to save the boy.

He added, “He was on a different beach to me and I had to swim through the groynes to reach him.”

Nathan lifted the injured youngster, who had been dragged under water and pushed into the wooden groynes by the swell, and lifted him on to the top of the groyne.

Martyn Ward, 42, who was also helping with the rescue, said, “I will never forget the way he looked when he was lifted out. The look on his face was that he thought he was going to drown. He was genuinely terrified and he thought he was a goner.”

The youngster did not want to let go of the groyne but the men managed to get a body board over to him and he was taken back to the safety of the beach.

Martyn added, “He had lacerations on him where he had been smashed against the groynes.”

The men found blankets and towels to keep him warm and the ambulance service was called to the scene.

The youngster was taken off to hospital and discharged the next day.

Both Martyn and Nathan said they did not think twice about jumping in to save the boy.

Martyn said, “At the time it is a massive adrenaline rush and then you appreciate what has happened and realise the enormity of the situation and that the child was close to losing his life.

“I will look back at this and see it as an important time in my life.”

Nathan added, “A lady stopped me afterwards and said what we had done was amazing but I think I was in a little bit of shock. I am not a strong swimmer and this has made me think I should do some more swimming as you never know when you might need it.”

Nathan said he and his wife Emma had seen the tragic news about a man in West Wittering losing his life in the sea after rescuing a child on the same weekend.

He said, “That really brought it home. We just looked at each other in silence and it made us realise how lucky we are.”