North West Wales

Girls rescued by RAF helicopter from Cymyran Beach, Rhosneigr

An RAF rescue helicopter
Image caption It is one of the fastest responses ever conducted by RAF Valley

Two teenagers have been rescued after being swept out to sea off the Anglesey coast.

The girls, aged 16 and 13, were winched to safety off Cymyran Beach, Rhosneigr by a crew from nearby RAF Valley.

The RAF said it was one of its "fastest and shortest" operations, with the helicopter, captained by Prince William, taking 38 seconds to arrive.

The winchman said the elder girl had been exhausted and in particular danger.

Both teenagers were taken to Ysbysty Gwynedd in Bangor after Thursday afternoon's incident.

The RAF said Rescue 137 had just landed when the distress call came, and was airborne again "within seconds".

The girls has been caught on a riptide while body-boarding and were described as "fighting a losing battle and were swept out to sea".

Winchman, Master Aircrew Harry Harrison, said: "When I got to her, the elder girl was clearly exhausted and was going under the water for what was the very last time."

He added: "We never know what we'll face when we're called out.

"Sometimes its just a twisted ankle or a broken bone, but this was one rescue where we truly did arrive in the nick of time and managed to save two young lives."

Fl Lt 'Schmoo' Smith, co-pilot, said: "This was a remarkably swift rescue, taking around 38 seconds from take-off until we arrived on scene."

The RAF said the 16-year-old managed to thank the winchman on the way the hospital and told him she thought it was all over as she sank beneath the waves.

The crew had been called to a similar incident at Rhosneigr minutes earlier when a child and three adults were carried out by a rip tide but managed to scramble onto rocks and to safety.