SURFERS have saved the life of a non-swimmer being swept out to sea from a Pembrokeshire beach by a powerful rip current.

The woman was being carried out to sea off Manorbier after she rushed into the water to go to the rescue of her two children, who had got into difficulty while bodyboarding.

The incident was one of several on the popular, non-lifeguarded beach earlier this week, which saw a total of eight people being rescued by local surfers in two days.

One of the rescuers, former RNLI lifeguard Alex Clark of Milford Haven, told the Western Telegraph: “In all my time as a lifeguard, I never saw anyone so close to drowning.

“The rip in Manorbier can be deadly when the tide is high.

“The surfers go out on the rip to get to the big waves on the right, and then people on the beach are misled and send their children in on the left where it’s calmer. That’s where the rip is and it can be really, really strong.”

Alex, 26, was amongst a large group of surfers in the sea off Manorbier around 2pm last Tuesday afternoon when he spotted two youngsters on bodyboards some 200 metres from the shore.

A former lifeguarding colleague, Jack O’Shea, 25, of Manorbier, also made his way towards the children and they brought the pair to safety.

But in the meantime, the children’s mother – despite being unable to swim – had gone into the water and had been swept off her feet by the tide.

“She had probably gone 100 metres in 10 seconds,” said Alex.

Another local surfer, who Alex only knows as Luke, paddled across to the woman and put her on his board.

“It was pure chance he was so close, and if he hadn’t been, she would have drowned,” said Alex. “She was seconds away from a tragic ending.”

As Luke became tired as he battled the current, Alex went out to give him his own board and brought the woman back to the shore on Luke’s board.

“We’d literally just got back to the beach, Jack and I were saying how lucky the people were when we saw two other children in the same current, who Jack rescued.

“Then around 20 minutes later, I rescued a dad and a daughter, yet again on bodyboards.”

Alex said that last Monday, July 27, another bodyboarder was swept out and climbed on rocks to safety, and he also rescued a brother and sister in a separate incident.

“The majority of people were tourists – they just get on the beach and send their kids in the water without a second thought.

“If it wasn’t for the surfers down there, we could have been looking at several tragedies this week.”