A 10-year-old boy has said he thought he was moments away from dying when he was swept out to sea during a day trip to the beach with his family.
Lifeboat crews believe Ravi Saini’s life was saved by his use of the Float To Live technique he learned watching TV programmes about ocean rescues.
Ravi told the RNLI team that pulled him from the water that they gave him “a second chance to live” when he visited Scarborough lifeboat station to thank them.
The crew told the youngster he was “an inspiration” as they presented him with gifts and showed him round the base.
Ravi described how he was on a day trip from his home in Leeds with his father, Nathu Ram, 37, his mother, Puspa Devi, 34, and his sister, Muskan Saini, nine, on one of the hottest days of the year last week.
He said that he was in the water with his father when he suddenly realised he was out of his depth and floating out into the North Yorkshire seaside town’s South Bay.
“I realised I was floating and I was like ‘help me, help me’,” Ravi said as he sat in the inshore lifeboat which came to pluck him from the sea.
“My dad tried to come but the water was higher than him.”
He said he was thinking: “Is this really happening, is this the end of my life?.”
But he said he was a fan of shows including the BBC documentary Saving Lives At Sea, which follows lifeboat crews across Britain.
This is how he knew the Float To Live technique which he described as staying on your back, staying calm and spreading out like a starfish.
He said: “All of a sudden the waves were so strong that every single part of my body goes into the water and then it takes 10 seconds or something to get back.”
But he said that, after what felt like five hours, he heard the inshore lifeboat’s engine.
Ravi said: “I felt like ‘yeah I finally got a second chance to live’.”
His father, who is a chef, described how he tried to get to his son but the water was too deep with strong currents.
“He called me – ‘dad help me’ – and I tried to go and bring Ravi back,” Mr Ram said.
“The water was round my neck in the water and I lost my control.
“Slowly, slowly he was going too far. Once or twice we saw his face. After that we didn’t see him.
“He kept asking ‘dad, help’ but we couldn’t do anything.”
Mr Ram said; “When I was in the water I was struggling and I was thinking that we could both lose our lives today.”
He said he thought his son was going to die in front of his eyes.
Mr Ram said that when Ravi was in hospital later he told his parents he thought he was “a few minutes away from dying”.
Lifeboat crewman Rudi Barman, who also runs a speedboat attraction in the bay, said: “He was an incredible young man.
“He resisted the urge to panic which, in those conditions, would have been a big problem.
“The fact that he was on his back Floating To Live is just amazing really. That’s what saved his life.”
The crew said Ravi was swept across the bay from the Spa complex to the harbour and was in the water for around an hour.
The youngster was taken to hospital for checks but was discharged the next day.