Redcar bodyboarder saved from drowning after heroics of passing jetskier.
Jetski hero Nick Abraham saved the life of a bodyboarder who was close to drowning after getting into difficulties 500 yards from shore.
Dan Shields, 18, was struggling after strong tides ripped away his board in the sea off The Stray, Redcar.
The Middlesbrough College student said he thought he was experiencing his last moments of life before Nick rescued him.
And – after meeting up again with the man who plucked him from the water – Dan, of Station Road, Redcar, said: “I am very grateful for what Nick did.
“He saved my life and I’m grateful to everyone concerned.
“It was the scariest moment of my life. I thought my last moment was coming but tried to stay calm.
“When I saw Nick racing towards me, I just felt a huge surge of relief, but I was absolutely exhausted and Nick pulled me aboard.
“I’ll still go bodyboarding though – they were freak conditions.”
The Redcar RNLI lifeboat was launched on Sunday at 5pm after a man was spotted in difficulties by off-duty member Cameron Bond.
He then alerted Humber Coastguard.
But, soon after, Nick, 38 – landlord of the Royal George pub at Skelton – arrived first on the scene on his 80mph jetski and hauled struggling Dan aboard.
He then brought the bodyboarder safely back to shore.
Afterwards, ambulance crews told Nick he had saved Dan’s life.
And the jetskier was also warmly thanked by the lifeboat crew for his quick thinking and bravery.
Today, Nick said: “I was going down to Redcar beach to have an hour in the water travelling to Saltburn.
“When I got to the jetty on The Stray, there was a big crowd there all pointing out to sea.
“I saw a hand and head bobbing in the water about 500 yards out and the current was very strong and was taking him out. He’d lost his bodyboard in the current and was being swept out to sea.
“I launched my jetski and was with him in seconds. I pulled him onto the back of my jetski. He was conscious, but was slumped over the back and was exhausted.
“If I hadn’t got to him, he was a goner and would only have lasted a couple more minutes at most.”
Nick sat sideways on his machine to give room for Dan at the rear and brought him swiftly to the slipway.
At first, he was warmed up in a passerby’s 4×4 vehicle and then spent a couple of hours in an ambulance, where paramedics warmed him further and checked his heart and blood pressure before he was released, shocked but OK.
Redcar lifeboat crew also assisted and stayed with him in the ambulance.
Nick said: “Dan came to me afterwards, shook my hand and said I’d saved his life, as did ambulance staff.
“I go jetskiing regularly, but have never had a drama like this. It’s a very nice feeling to have been in the right place at the right time to have saved someone.
“Jetskis get a bad press sometimes because some irresponsible riders go too close inshore, but this proves they can be lifesavers.”
Dave Cocks, Redcar lifeboat deputy launching authority, said: “Nick should be very proud of himself. He has avoided a potential fatality and saved a life.
“It just goes to show how cold and dangerous the North Sea can be at this time of year.”