Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 07:54 UK

Swimmer 'five minutes from death'


The 13-year-old was swept out to sea

A teenage girl was "five minutes from death" after getting into difficulties while swimming off the Teesside coast, rescuers said.

Friends alerted emergency services when the 13-year-old was in the North Sea near Redcar on Tuesday evening.

Lifeboat crews gave the youngster oxygen after she was plucked from the sea 150m (492ft) off the beach.

An RNLI spokesman said the girl, from Marske, would not have survived another five minutes in the cold water.

The girl was taken to Middlesbrough's James Cook University Hospital suffering from the effects of the cold water.

'Cold and unforgiving'

Dave Cocks from Redcar RNLI said: "The girl was extremely lucky. The first lifeboat crew on scene believe she was so cold and exhausted that she wouldn't have lasted another five minutes in the sea.

"The North Sea is very cold and unforgiving, even at the height of summer, and people should be aware of the consequences of getting out of their depth.

"The RNLI always encourages people to swim in areas of the beach protected by lifeguards and marked by the yellow and red flags.

"On this occasion the outcome was positive. Ignoring basic safety advice could well turn a bit of fun at the beach into a tragedy."

Rescuers issue summer sea alert
28 Jul 08 |  England

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