SWIMMERS have been warned of the dangers of strong currents after five children were swept out to sea.
The two girls and three boys were playing at the beach at Eastoke, Hayling Island, when they decided to go in for a dip but within moments the ebb of the tide had pulled them out.
Ten-year-old Robbie Humphreys managed to get out and raise the alarm and his mother called 999 at 3.30pm on Sunday.
Three of the youngsters were able to get back with some help but a 10-year-old girl was dragged under the water about 200m out.
As the RNLI and the Hayling Rescue Boat raced to her a man swam out and held her head up until they arrived.
Alan Bartlett, from Hayling RNLI, said: ‘Fortunately a good samaritan went into the water to help her but we know nothing about him. We think she may have been under once and was about to go under again when he arrived so this was a touch and go situation.
‘The harbour patrol vessel was the first on the scene and they picked the little girl up.
‘The man said he could get back under his own steam. He then disappeared into the mists of time.
‘We would like this man to get in touch with us.’
The air ambulance was called but in the end the five children were taken to hospital by land to be checked over as a precaution.
Mr Bartlett has warned that swimmers should stick to the south beaches and not swim in the strong harbour currents of the east and west beaches and never swim when the tide is going out.
Robbie’s mother Jan, 53, from Hayling, said: ‘Robbie is a non-swimmer and we know the ebb can be really fast there so that’s probably why he got out before the others.
‘We never go to that beach normally and he is quite aware of the dangers.
‘The RNLI do a great job. There was a chap who rescued two of the children.
‘He was a little bit upset because he had just gone out with his friends for the day.
‘After the first wave hit him he thought “I’ve got to get out” and managed to pull himself out. He turned round and saw the others go out further and called for help.’
n Were you the man who went in or do you know the rescued girl? Call us on (023) 9262 2118.