Teenage swimmer swept away and killed off Whitby coast

A 17-year-old boy died today after he was caught by a rip current and swept out to sea off the North Yorkshire coast.

It is believed the teenager and two female friends were using an inflatable dinghy when they got into difficulty at Whitby's West Pier, a spokeswoman for RNLI Lifeguards said.

It is thought the youngster, who has not been named but is from the Tyneside area, managed to pull himself to safety using the ladder on the pier wall but had gone back to help one of his friends when he got caught in the rip current.

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North Yorkshire Police said the boy's friends are two girls believed to be aged 16, also from the Tyneside area.

They were also injured in the incident and were taken to hospital for treatment for hypothermia and secondary drowning.

The drama unfolded just before 1pm today when Humber Coastguard received multiple 999 calls reporting that three teenagers were being swept out to sea near the West Pier at Whitby.

Whitby Beach Lifeguards entered the water to recover the youths and the coastguard sent Whitby Coastguard rescue team, Whitby RNLI inshore lifeboat and Rescue Helicopter 128 from RAF Leconfield to the scene.

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RNLI lifeguard Josh Jones reached the water's edge on a quad bike and entered the water, he reached one of the girls first and secured her with a rescue tube so she could float.

Megan Ellis, another lifeguard, took the girl to shore while Mr Jones went further out into the water to reach the 17-year-old boy, who was unconscious.

He kept him afloat until the inshore lifeboat crew reached them and recovered them both into the lifeboat.

The youngster was given CPR in the lifeboat until a rescue helicopter arrived and transferred him to Scarborough Hospital.

He was pronounced dead a short time later.

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The third female is thought to have made it to the shore unaided, the RNLI Lifeguards spokeswoman said.

Both she and the other girl were taken to the same hospital when the air ambulance returned to the beach and their injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

Katie Gellatly, Humber Coastguard watch officer, warned of the dangers of swimming in the sea.

She said: "This incident reminds us all of the hidden dangers present when swimming at the beach, and we would urge all members of the public visiting the coast to use lifeguarded beaches where possible, and take note of any signs or flags that show which areas are safe to bathe in."