Three swimmers were saved after getting caught in a rip tide yesterday in one of two rescues on Cornish beaches by members of the public.

People on the beach at Praa Sands reported hearing the trio shouting for help from the sea, but before the coastguard could be contacted two surfers in the water had rushed across.

It is understood a woman first got into difficulties and her partner went in to rescue her, followed by another man from the beach, before all three became stuck.

Keith Jacka was one of three men who went to their aid yesterday afternoon.

He said: "They were in serious trouble on a mid tide bank, towards the Hendra end at Praa.

"[It was a] classic scenario - one got into trouble and then two swam out to help, and then both got caught too.

"It was fortunate that we were able to get to them when we did as they were a fair distance out, all stuck with no way of getting back in and more importantly nothing with any boyuancy."

He said two others were also involved in the rescue, adding: "It was a great team effort and we got them back to shore safely."

He described getting the swimmers back to shore as "tough" however, due to the conditions and strength of the tide, adding: "It just goes to show you don’t need big surf for there to be a strong rip."

The other rescue took place at Kennack Sands, on the Lizard Peninsula over the course of the same afternoon.

Read next: Talks over Cornwall lifeguard beach cover

Liane Jose-Carter, from Ruan Minor, swam out to two children with body boards that had been swept out to sea in a rip current, with a man who had also been watching helping get them in safely.

Liane said: "I noticed a couple of girls on body boards that were a bit distressed and shouting. I think they’d got caught in a bit of the rip tide.

"The first one was in a bit closer and she seemed ok to get herself in, so I managed to swim out to the second girl, got to her and started to swim her back in.

"Another gentleman who was sat behind us had also seen it happen and had followed me in, so he helped me get her back to where I could stand, then went back to help a lady who had also tried to help, and I took the girl back to the beach.

"Thankfully all was ok, the rip had just caught her unawares."

Praa Sands is one of a number of beaches in Cornwall that would normally be covered by lifeguards from the beginning of May through to September, along with others including Sennen, Porthmeor, Hayle Towans, Gwithian, Porthtowan, Perranporth and Newquay's beaches.

Many other beaches, including Kennack, would then expect to have coverage over the Spring Bank Holiday and over the main summer months.

However, there is currently no lifeguard cover on beaches anywhere in the county, with Cornwall Council attributing it to a national RNLI decision.

The charity previously said back on May 11, following the Prime Minister's announcement over lockdown easing, that it was working with local authorities and beach owners in the hope that it could provide a lifeguard service on around 30 per cent of the beaches usually covered this summer.

But it said at the time: "Re-establishing this infrastructure and distributing equipment to beaches will take time. The charity must also make sure that conditions are safe for lifeguards to provide an effective service."

More than 11,000 people have currently signed a petition to return lifeguards to beaches in Cornwall and the rest of the UK.

Read next: RNLI issues safety reminder after lockdown lifting measures as lifeguards not yet in place

The UK Lifeguard Solidarity Group has set up it using the #ReturnToShore hashtag, stating: "The Government Treasury have formally recognised our lifesaving role as being ‘crucial’ but have not yet made any provisions to protect it.

"The majority of seasonal beach lifeguards are not eligible for the Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme and are therefore seeking / engaged in other employment.

"This includes a significant number of highly qualified and experienced lifeguards who had started employment but cannot be furloughed due to the restrictive cut-off date.

"Our safety critical role will need to resume immediately once restrictions are lifted in order to prevent loss of life. This is the sole purpose of furlough, to allow essential services to resume swiftly once the restrictions lift.

"Lifeguarding is a source of pride, identity and sole financial income for over 1,500 lifeguards nationally. The seasonality of our operations should not stand in the way of us receiving government support."