Human chain saves man swept out to sea at Durdle Door

With gales and powerful tidal surges forecast along the east coast of Dorset, people are being warned to stay away from the sea, after a man, caught in a tidal current, had to be rescued by beachgoers at Durdle Door.

The Environment Agency is warning that weather conditions are expected to get worse today, Friday 21st August 2020, as large and powerful waves are expected to overtop sea defences along the coast, including Swanage and Studland Bay, as a result of high tides and strong Force 7 to 8 winds.


The extreme weather conditions will be most hazardous around high tide at 11.15 am on Friday 21st August 2020.

“A human chain in an attempt to rescue the individual at Durdle Door”

Yesterday, Thursday 20th August 2020, a man got caught out by the sea and was lucky to be pulled from the water by people on the beach at Durdle Door. Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team said:

“A shocking image surfaced on a local social media group. It shows a person in the water and a group forming a human chain in an attempt to rescue the individual at Durdle Door. Apparently, two were in difficulty at one point, the first casualty and the rescuer. We were pleased to hear that they were both recovered and were able to walk away.

“With the large waves and spring tides of late, we strongly discourage sea swimming and playing around in the surf, especially on exposed beaches such as Durdle Door. The undertow is very powerful and will have no trouble taking you off your feet.”

Man rescued at Durdle Door by human chain
Emily Foote

Beachgoers rescue a man swept out to sea by the power of the waves at Durdle Door

“Amazing to see those who risked their life to try and rescue him”

Emily Foote who was on the beach at Durdle Door and saw the rescue said:

“I also witnessed the whole thing and although people may be quick to jump to conclusions about why he was in the sea, it was also so amazing to see those who risked their life to try and rescue him.

“It was so scary to watch but also the selfless acts of all those involved and the loud cheering and clapping that happened across the beach after what was thankfully a happy ending. As a local I know the dangers but it seems sometimes not everyone understands.”

Video filmed by eye witness Emily Foote of the rescue of a man from the sea at Durdle Door

“The south west coast is set for a bit of a battering over the next couple of days”

The RNLI and HM Coastguard are urging people to visit lifeguarded beaches and take extra care on Friday and Saturday. Visitors to the beach are being reminded that if they see a red flag at a lifeguarded beach, to not enter the water, as it is unsafe for any water activities. If there are no flags, then there are no lifeguards. HM Coastguard said:

“The south west coast is set for a bit of a battering over the next couple of days, with dangerous sea conditions involving large swells, strong winds and spring tides expected. Along with the RNLI, we’re urging people to take extra care.”

RNLI poster warning of dangerous sea conditions

“Those arriving to the area may not be up to date with local news”

Steve Instance, RNLI water safety lead for the south west said:

“When we experience conditions such as this, especially during the summer when the region is busy with visitors, it is incredibly important that those heading to the coast keep themselves safe by choosing a lifeguarded beach and visiting within the patrol hours of 10 am to 6 pm.

‘With changeover days for holidaymakers on Fridays and Saturdays, those arriving to the area may not be up to date with local news and forecasts so could be caught unaware of the conditions.

‘RNLI lifeguards are there to offer advice so if you are unsure about anything, make sure you ask a lifeguard. They will be able to provide information on tide times and guide you to the safest area to swim which will be between the red and yellow flags. Anyone surfing should know their limits and always stay within the black and white flagged area.’

People are being reminded that if they see any one in difficulty on the coast, to call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

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