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Home / Latest News / Father and son-in-law risk their lives to save couple caught by incoming tide

Father and son-in-law risk their lives to save couple caught by incoming tide

A father and son-in-law risked their own lives to save two people from drowning at a notorious accident spot when they got caught out by the incoming tide.

Gordon Hadfield said he could not stand by and watch as Daniel Wood and Lisa Picton, both 24, got stuck while trying to return to the mainland from Sully Island on Sunday.

Mr Hadfield, and his son-in-law Gavin Beddard, said they felt they had no choice but to step in and help.

The coastguard has said it does not advise or encourage people to rescue somebody else.

But Mr Hadfield, 58, said: “We could not just stand there and watch them go down. We had no option but to act.

“We did put our lives at risk, but we knew what we were doing and were fully capable of doing it.”

Mr Wood and Miss Picton have thanked the men for helping them.

Mr Wood said they had decided to go for a walk around the island on what was a sunny day but realised at about half way around the island that there was barely any land left and started to walk quickly back.

But he said that in the time it had taken them to walk back, the water had already come further in.

He said: “The next thing we knew it was quickly above my head and we both had to swim for it. “

He said Miss Picton, a Cardiff University student, was a good swimmer and managed to get out but that he was stuck and could not go any further.

Mr Wood said: “I was panicking in a stupid way in that I didn’t think to take off my big hooded fleece I had on and that was weighing me down a lot. It wasn’t too scary to begin with because I was still thinking I’m going to look silly when I come out the other end.

“Then I got more and more tired and every time I tired to swim I wasn’t getting anywhere and as it was coming in it seemed to be getting faster.”

Mr Hadfield, who owns Seashore Grill and Cafe Bar at Swanbridge, opposite Sully Island, said the alarm was raised at about 6pm and he dialled 999.

He said Gavin, 31, swam in while he walked in until the water was up to his neck.

He said: “If we had waited much longer there is no doubt they would have been dragged out to sea.”

Mr Hadfield said: “I managed to get the woman out, but the man’s head was bobbing about and he was in more trouble. Gavin swam out further to get him.

“The tide was coming in fast and he could have been swept away.”

Mr Wood said: “I’m so grateful to the guy who came in and dragged me out. I don’t like to think what would have happened if he didn’t come and rescue me.”

Mr Hadfield said it was the fourth time in 24 years that he had been involved in rescuing people making their way back from Sully Island.

He said more signs should now be posted on Sully Island warning people of the dangers of the speed of the incoming tide.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We do not encourage or advise people to enter the water to rescue somebody else because they will only put themselves in danger. We do not want to have to rescue them as well as the people who originally got into trouble.

“But, even though this is our general advice,  if somebody does make a decision to go to the aid of somebody else we advise they take a floatation aid such as a lifebelt or even a rope.”

The rate of tidal rise and fall in the Sully Island area is the second highest in the world.

The rocky causeway connecting the island to the mainland is uncovered for around three hours either side of low tide.

The island is then cut off from the mainland for the rest of the day.

Penarth’s inshore lifeboat has been called out twice this month to rescue people stranded on the island.

A group of five people were also rescued in February after becoming stranded on Sully Island.

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