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Swimmer is rescued by search and rescue helicopter after getting into difficulty at Folkestone harbour

A swimmer was winched from the water after getting into difficulty in the sea.

The HM Coastguard and the RNLI were called to Folkestone following reports a man was drifting out to sea near the Harbour Arm.

A man was airlifted out of the water at Folkestone after getting into difficulty. Picture: Folkestone Coastguard
A man was airlifted out of the water at Folkestone after getting into difficulty. Picture: Folkestone Coastguard

The 999 call had come from the swimmer's partner who could see him from the shore line, at around 6.40pm yesterday.

The search and rescue helicopter from Lydd was called to assist crews, and lowered their winchman down to bring the casualty up into the helicopter.

He was then taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford as a precaution.

The rescue mission has now sparked a warning from the RNLI.

A spokesman for the Littlestone station said: "Swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a pool.

"Unseen currents, cold water and waves make open water swimming more challenging.

"Even the strongest swimmers can tire quickly in the sea."

The Folkestone Coastguard has also reminded people that if they are in trouble by the sea, whether it's in the water, in mud or by the cliffs, people should call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said of the incident: "At 6.40pm yesterday (August 27) HM Coastguard received a 999 call for assistance from a person reporting that their partner was swimming in Folkestone Harbour and was drifting out to sea.

"The search and rescue helicopter from Lydd was sent as well as the coastguard rescue teams from Folkestone and the RNLI lifeboat from Littlestone.

"The casualty was recovered by the helicopter and was airlifted to William Harvey Hospital."

Earlier this month teams from the RNLI helped rescue four teenagers who became stuck on rocks that were disappearing under the rising tide.

The rescue took place at the beach near Folkestone's Lower Leas Coastal Park, half a mile west of the Harbour Arm.

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