Family had to be rescued after going paddleboarding during Storm Francis

A mother and her two sons have been saved after they went paddleboarding in the middle of Storm Francis.

The family were swept 600ft out to sea on the inflatable boards yesterday as the storm battered the UK coastline with 50mph winds.

When an RNLI lifeboat reached them they had been battling to stay afloat in 6ft rolling waves for 45 minutes.

The two boys, one aged under 10 and the other in his early teens, were plucked to safety along with the mother, believed to be in her 40s.

They were all said to have been cold and in a state of shock.

People on Knoll Beach at Studland, Dorset, raised the alarm after watching the family enter the sea in heavy winds.

Ian Brown, from the Swanage Coastguard, met the family on the beach after the rescue.

He said: ‘In the conditions that we saw yesterday it was not a good idea to go paddleboarding.

‘It may have looked like a nice sunny day but the wind was very strong.

‘They were very lucky not to be injured having been in the water for as long as 45 minutes.

‘This is one that could have been very nasty and ended very differently.’

Becky Mack, who was involved in the rescue, added: ‘It is not a great idea to be paddleboarding when the weather was like that.

‘They had intended to stay within the buoys but were blown about 600ft out almost straight away by the offshore winds.

‘Luckily, there was an RNLI training vessel out and they picked them up before transferring them to us.

‘Thankfully they were all okay other than being a bit cold and shocked.

‘Our advice is to always check conditions before going in the water and to avoid the sea when the winds are as strong as they were yesterday.’

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