Northamptonshire woman safe after going missing in charity race

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A woman from Kettering has been found safe and well after getting into difficulty during a charity swimming race yesterday (Sunday, May 26).

A major search and rescue operation had been launched as dozens of people taking part in the race had to be pulled from the sea, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

But the woman was one of two people who were initially unaccounted for, despite rescue efforts. Both were later found unharmed.

More than 130 swimmers got into difficulty off the coast of Southwold, in Suffolk, with initial reports that up to 90 people were missing.

Four lifeboats and a rescue helicopter were involved in the rescue, while two people were taken to hospital in Great Yarmouth with suspected hypothermia.

An MCA spokeswoman said it was unclear how the swimmers got into trouble as weather conditions were fine but the water was “very cold”.

Some swimmers were rescued by lifeboat while a number of people swam to the shore themselves, she said.

Everyone pulled from the water was conscious and there were no reported fatalities, the spokeswoman added.

Eyewitnesses spoke of exhausted swimmers coming out of the sea and being wrapped in towels, while a lifeboat hut close to the pier was turned into a makeshift emergency centre.

Simon Callaghan, helmsman at Southwold RNLI, said: “We were out on a regular Sunday exercise when we heard a swimmer calling for help. After that we had one of the busiest times I can remember, rescuing 58 people altogether.

“Our volunteer crew, the lifeguards and other rescue teams involved all responded brilliantly and may have averted what could have become a much more serous incident.”