A Whitby man has been hailed a hero after saving the life of a swimmer found floating face down in the sea off West Cliff beach.
The drama unfolded on Saturday at around 6.45pm as Paul Beatson of Ocean Road was playing in the water with his grandson Bailey (9).
The pair were rock pooling with Paul walking waist-deep in the water while he kept an eye on his grandson as the tide was coming in.
He said: “I could see something floating, a bit of a swimming costume. Then I realised it was a woman face down in the water.
“Her eyes were open, her lips and face were bright blue.”
Paul (48) is a trained first-aider who runs Park Dene bed and breakfast with partner Mags Mclaughlin (56). He dragged the woman, a keen sea swimmer in her 70s who lives locally, to the shoreline while her family helplessly watched on.
He told the Gazette: “I had my hand on her back and I started pumping her stomach doing the Heimlich manoeuvre.” Other people came to their aid as the woman brought up a lot of water.
An off-duty nurse joined the helpers. Paul added: “The nurse got air into her lungs and I did the chest compressions. By that time the tide was on us and we had to keep moving. As five or six people lifted her up the steps, she started breathing.
“It was a fantastic feeling to know she was still alive.”
Whitby coastguard rescue officer Rob Parkin was at a beach hut with his family and also rushed to help. He said: “The public did a brilliant job in performing CPR. It was one of the busiest days major incident wise I can remember in 23 years as a coastguard.”
The emergency services arrived and a Sea King helicopter from RAF Leconfield took the pensioner to hospital. She was moved from intensive care at Scarborough Hospital to observation.
Mr Beatson’s partner added he was a hero. She said: “A lifeguard came up to him and said, ‘You saved her life’.”