Boy drifts A MILE out to sea on a rubber ring

Katy Holland

A twelve-year-old boy has been rescued a mile off the coast of Wales - with only a child's rubber ring to keep him afloat.

A lifeboat crew saved the boy, who was suffering from hypothermia and was drifting in to unconsciousness.

If he had, the crew said, he would have slipped out of the floating ring and drowned.

Speaking to the BBC, Keth Allmark, of Criccieth RNLI station, said: 'The crew said that in another 20 or 30 seconds, he would have gone under. He would have drowned.

'It was not long before his body was starting to close down. He would not have been able to tread water for much longer.'

The boy had been playing by the seaside and had been carried off by the current into the sea. He had been drifting about 45 minutes when the rescuers found him off Shell Island, near Barmouth, Gwynedd.

A rescue helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey, where Prince William is based, flew the boy to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.

The National Health Service reports that lifeguards respond to more than 13,000 incidents a year on the UK's beaches. Many of these incidents are due to rip tides, which are more common than most people think, the NHS says. Inflatables are easily pulled out to sea by currents and strong winds.

If you are going to the beach, watch the video below and follow these important beach safety tips.

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