A MUM has described feeling helpless as she watched a family of six being "thrown around as if in a washing machine" after they were swept into the sea - and stressed the importance of the emergency services.

Earlier the Packet reported how Blackwater businessman Kevin Viles and his family had helped save the lives of six people by pulling them from the water, after they were knocked from rocks by a wave at Godrevy Point near Gwithian on Wednesday afternoon.

Read more: Dad who saved family from drowning describes it as 'the worst thing I've lived'

Some of the family, which is understood to have included a gran and two young children, were airlifted to hospital for further treatment via air ambulance and coastguard helicopter.

Now Sarah Griffiths from St Keverne has described it as "an absolute miracle" the family were all recovered.

She praised the efforts of Kevin and his family, saying without them it could have been very different, but added that she also wanted people to know about the importance of calling emergency services.

"It is heroic, what they did in saving those people, but if everyone had done that it would have been a disaster - it could have been more bodies.

"It's helping people realise that you can help by calling as soon as you see someone in trouble. You can help by clearing the road," she said.

Portreath Coastguard Rescue Team also spoke afterwards of the importance of not going near large waves and calling 999 for the Coastguard if seeing someone in difficulty on the coast, whilst also acknowledging the "quick actions and bravery" of Mr Viles and his family.

It is understood Mr Viles's partner Lisa also called for the Coastguard at the time.

Falmouth Packet:

Emergency services at Godrevy Point near Gwithian on Wednesday

As a teaching assistant at Mullion Primary School, it is a message Sarah hopes will sink in with the children at her school as well as anyone reading about what has unfolded.

She said: "We just happened to be walking, just as a woman started shouting and screaming that people were in the water.

"She was on her own so we went to see why she was screaming and there were multiple bodies in the water.

"There was one person being thrown around as if they were in a washing machine. At one point they were on their back, and then their front.

Read next: RNLI renews warning as huge waves continue to batter beaches in Cornwall

"We started shouting as well, then realised that at that point no one was there, no coastguards, so I dialled 999.

"They were amazing, just kept talking to me and told me they were on their way.

"I didn't know about Kevin and Lisa at that point, as they were below us.

Falmouth Packet:

Waves at Godrevy Lighthouse on Wednesday

"We didn't go down as there was no beach and there was a risk we would be swept in with them, so we stood there helplessly.

"I think everyone did just what they could."

Looking around her, Sarah realised that there were lots of people blocking the road, where the emergency services would need to be.

"We got the ice cream van out the way and cleared the area as best we could," she explained.

She said it was not long before a lifeguard arrived on a quad bike, then four ambulances, four coastguard vehicles, a lifeboat and two helicopters.

"They just kept coming," said Sarah. "They were amazing."

Falmouth Packet:

People watch helplessly from the cliffs at Gwithian

She said one of the people in the water had to be resuscitated and her family left afterwards fearing they had just witnessed a tragedy.

She described the fact all were rescued as "incredible - an absolute miracle."

"The waves were just beautiful until that moment, when they just became evil - because they were tossing those people around like a washing machine.

"To think they're OK, it's just a miracle," added Sarah.