Norfolk

Molly and Daisy Cole thank RNLI for 'emotional' sea rescue

Daisy Cole, Mike Darby and Molly Cole
Image caption Daisy (left) and Molly were reunited with RNLI crewman Mike Darby, who kept Daisy afloat in the sea while wearing his full kit and steel toe-capped boots

Twin sisters who were pulled from the sea six years ago have thanked the RNLI crew who saved their lives.

Molly and Daisy Cole, 12, and elder sister Zoe were exploring the wreck of SS Vena on a sandbank near Brancaster, Norfolk, when the tide cut them off.

Terrified, they clung to a buoy but Zoe and Molly lost their grip and were swept away in the fast current.

"Something like that really makes you value life," said Molly, now 18. "We were lucky the RNLI got there in time."

Crewman Mike Darby - who jumped in the sea to help - said "two minutes, and it could have been a very different story".

Zoe and Molly, who were in the most danger, were rescued first.

After leaping into the water to save Daisy, Mr Darby held on to her - but the pair began to drift.

Image copyright RNLI
Image caption Mike Darby, seen in the water with Daisy, said he struggled to get back into the hovercraft

"I had to swim about 15ft (4.5m) against the tide, wearing all my kit, including steel toe-capped boots and drysuit," he said.

"My heart was in my mouth.

"It was the hardest swim of my life, without a doubt."

The girls were shaken but made a full recovery and on Friday returned to RNLI Hunstanton to promote the charity's Perfect Storm fundraising appeal.

'I do think back to that day - probably more at times like birthdays and Christmas," said Molly, a history student in London.

"They are heroes in my eyes, so it was so good to thank them in person."

Daisy, a teaching assistant, said she remembered the panic of trying to keep afloat.

"Then there was the relief and happiness of holding on to the lifejacket - it was amazing."

Mr Darby said: "It was such an emotional rescue - it was great to see them and find out what they're doing now."

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