Boys rescue girls in sinking dinghy

Harry Gawthorpe, 9 & Joe Coombe, 8 saved two girls whilst kayaking off sandsend.
Harry Gawthorpe, 9 & Joe Coombe, 8 saved two girls whilst kayaking off sandsend.

Two schoolboys have been praised for their quick thinking after helping two girls to safety when the girls started drifting out to sea in a dinghy.

Harry Gawthorpe, aged nine, and his friend Joe Coombe, eight, were kayaking off the beach at Sandsend when they spotted the girls quite far out.

At first the pair thought the girls, aged 11 and 13, who were holidaymakers visiting for the day with their families, were okay, but then realised they were not – and the boys leapt back into their kayaks.

They paddled out to them and fastened to theirkayaks the rope on the girls’ dinghy, which by then was taking on water.

They paddled back to the safety of the beach where their worried families were waiting for them.

Harry, who is on holiday in the area with his family from Thirsk, told the Whitby Gazette: “At first me and Joe saw the girls quite far out but thought they were okay and we came back in.

“Then we said, ‘They are not okay, shall we see if they need any help?’.

“They said Yes, so me and Joe towed them in.

“When he got tired, I towed him the rest of the way until they could stand up.”

Harry and Joe are regular visitors to Sandsend.

Their families have holiday homes and they meet up during school holidays. Harry’s dad, James, and his wife Satsie and Joe’s parents Oli and Kirsty from Wiggington near York, said: “We are extremely proud of them and that they took that initiative without an adult.”

James added: “Because we holiday here regularly we have talked about the sea and the dangers of the sea and he has been around the lifeboat museum and understands it.”

The RNLI advises against using inflatables such as dinghies especially when there are offshore winds and unknown currents, 
as can occur at Sandsend even in seemingly fine weather.