Teenagers seen climbing rocks less than 24 hours after trapped man's terrifying ordeal
PUBLISHED: 13:17 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 20:04 30 July 2019
Sheringham RNLI is urging members of the public to heed sea safety warnings, after four teenagers were seen climbing on the very rocks they helped rescue a man from on Sunday.
Lifeboat junior helmsman Andy Trend, who was on the scene of the accident, said that in spite of being urged get down from the giant boulders, the youngsters, who were spotted by a crew member at around 7pm on Monday, stayed put.
"They were asked to get off, but they refused - people don't read signs and they don't like to be told what to do," Mr Trend said. "You would think that after what happened, they wouldn't entertain the idea, but there's no accounting for common sense."
The former RAF sergeant, who now runs Trendies cafe on the promenade, has been a lifeboat crew member since 2012.
He was serving customers when he got the 'shout' to attend Sunday's incident, which saw a man struggling to keep his head above water when his leg got trapped in rocks on the east beach.
"I was just locking up when my pager went off and I was down at the station within minutes," he explained.
Three crew members stayed on shore to help with the rescue effort, while others launched the boat.
"We could see the guy was getting hit by the water so we decided to circle the area to try to ease the swell and take the head off the waves and it worked," Mr Trend said.
Sheringham RNLI operations manager Brian Farrow, who was a coastguard for 15 years before joining the team in 1995, said a beach inspector and a six-strong team of lifeguards patrolled the beach daily throughout the summer.
He added that online criticism of the injured man - including claims that he was "irresponsible" and "stupid" - were unwarranted.
"He was doing absolutely nothing wrong," Mr Farrow said. "He was just very unlucky; it was a one in a million freak accident that nobody could have predicted."
He praised Sheringham lifeguards, who were first on the scene, and the emergency services who worked together to free the man, who is now recovering at home after being treated in hospital for bruising and a gash to his leg.
"I am very proud of my crew, but what really struck me was how many people were involved and the different skillsets they brought to the situation - it's about saving lives and it really works," he said.
For information about sea safety, visit: www.rnli.org/safety
Rocks form part of £5.25 million sea defence scheme
The rocks lining Sheringham's beaches are part of a coast protection scheme drawn up by North Norfolk District Council Coastal Management Unit to tackle the gradual loss of the town's beaches, which were slowly being stripped of shingle.
With sea levels predicted to rise, and storms damaging a number of seafront properties in 1993, the work was seen as urgently needed.
The 'rock armour', comprising 20,000 tonnes of boulders, each of which weighed around 8.5 tonnes, was shipped across the North Sea by barge from Larvik, in Norway.
The project was completed in two stages, with the first - to create rock buttresses along 900 metres of coastline - costing £3.4 million and the second, which included replacing damaged timber groynes, creating a new beach access ramp and installing a further 90m of rock, costing £1.85 million
The government-funded scheme, which was completed in 1999, has been hailed a success, with beach levels slowly increasing.