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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Children saved in beach collapse
RNLI beach lifeguard on Bantham beach
Lifeguards patrolling the beach responded within 30 seconds
Eleven people including three children have been rescued after a sandbank collapsed in Devon.

RNLI beach lifeguards patrolling Bantham beach in South Devon helped them to safety.

Among those rescued were three children aged between five and 10 who had been in the water on bodyboards when the sandbank collapsed.

Senior lifeguard Liam Krige said the RNLI patrols had prevented a potential loss of life.

He said the collapse at 1630 BST was caused by the incoming tide saturating the sand.

This beach does have a nasty side when there's a swell
Liam Krige, RNLI beach lifeguard

"The sandbank can just disappear under your feet and it can't be foretold," Mr Krige told BBC News.

"All those people ended up being caught in a rip [current] and getting washed out to sea.

"This beach does have a nasty side when there's a swell like there was today."

Mr Krige said the people most at risk were the children on bodyboards who were being swept towards rocks.

"We responded within 30 seconds and rescued the children first," he said.

"They were pretty shocked and very glad to get back to shore."

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