Angler backs RNLI Mayday campaign after Porthcawl rescue
A fisherman has told how he was dramatically rescued by the RNLI after being swept out to sea by a huge wave.
Mike Dooley, 41, owes his life to the volunteer crew after he got into difficulty while fishing off Porthcawl, Bridgend, in December 2015.
The grateful angler is now urging people in Wales to support the charity's national fundraising event, the Mayday campaign.
Last year, the RNLI rescued 1,029 people across Wales.
Mr Dooley, a musician and music teacher from Caerphilly, remembers noticing the rough sea conditions that day but felt safe to go ahead as other fishermen were close by on Porthcawl's harbour wall.
Just 20 minutes later he was hit by an enormous wave.
"I saw it coming over and before I had time to react I was knocked flat on the ground," he said.
"My hands were out and I was being dragged across the concrete of the pier and then suddenly I felt nothing beneath me and I just dropped over the edge.
"I was only in the water for a few minutes but already the pier looked small and a long way away.
"It was terrifying and I was starting to wonder if I could survive this. I was trying not to take on any water but I could feel it in my lungs."
The alarm was raised by onlookers and Porthcawl's Atlantic 85 lifeboat volunteer crew located him a quarter of a mile out to sea.
RNLI volunteer Simon Emms said: "When we reached Mike, he was in a pretty precarious situation, the sea was terribly cold and he was unable to stay afloat for much longer."
Mr Dooley was taken to hospital but made a full recovery and was well enough to play a gig with his string quartet only days later.
He has urged the public to support the charity's campaign, which runs from Tuesday 26 April to 2 May.
"When I heard about the RNLI's Mayday campaign I wanted to do what we could to help and raise awareness of the amazing job these volunteers do," he said.
"I will be eternally thankful to them."
On Tuesday, Mr Dooley returned to the Porthcawl lifeboat station to personally thank the volunteer crew that saved him.
It came as RNLI lifeguards announced they will be on duty in Porthcawl for the first time this May Day Bank Holiday weekend when their service begins on two of the town's busiest beaches - Trecco Bay and Coney Beach.
They will be offering safety advice and assistance to beach-goers.