RNLI lifeguards rescued a group of bodyboarders caught in a strong rip current on Gwithian beach on Monday evening.

The mass rescue happened at about 6pm, just as the lifeguards were packing up for the day.

The RNLI lifeguards on Gwithian beach had just made an announcement to water users that their patrols were over for the day and removed the red and yellow bathing flags. As they left the beach, they warned those left in the water to keep away from the dangerous current in front of the lifeguard unit.

As they were packing up, the lifeguards noticed that the group, of about 10 bodyboarders had drifted into the rip current and were being quickly swept out to sea.

The six RNLI lifeguards, Jack Mander, Justin Lapskis, Tom Davis, Charlotte Hewitt, Tom Bolt, and Stan Carr were quick to respond, grabbing rescue boards and paddling out to the casualties, ferrying them back quickly and safely to the shore.

Phil Drew, RNLI lifeguard Manager said: "‘It’s a notorious part of the beach, which is always red flagged, with warnings signs about the currents created by a deep trench in the sand through which the water moves quickly, dragging anyone caught up in it out to sea. This year, due to the storms moving the sand around, it’s even deeper and the current even stronger.

"The group of bodyboarders were very scared and there was quite a bit of panic until they realised that the lifeguards were there to help.

"Anyone who is using the water out of hours should look at the safety signage at the entrance to the beach and take note of the warnings and advise on local hazards, such as rip currents.

Always keep hold of your floatation device, such as your bodyboard and paddle parallel to the beach until you are out of the path of the current. Raise your arm and call for help.

The incident comes after the lifeguards on Perranporth beach, a short distance up the coast, rescued a young boy on Sunday afternoon.

They were alerted to a boy who had become cut off by the tide and was clinging to the base of a cliff to the west of the beach.

Senior Lifeguard Robin Howell and crew member Sam Chamberlain launched the inshore rescue boat (IRB) to conduct a search. They quickly located the boy, who was about 12, near the entrance to a small cave, completely cut off and being hit by the breaking waves.

Robin manoeuvred the boat close enough for Sam to swim in and secure the boy with the rescue tube. Sam then swam against the surf to tow him clear of the rocks to a point where Robin could safely pick them up. They returned the boy to shore unharmed and reunited him with his friends.