Leeds boy who survived being dragged out to sea shares story with Prince William

An 11-year-old boy from Leeds who survived being dragged out to sea has shared his story with The Duke of Cambridge.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 5:37 pm
Ravi Saini and crew members Adam Sheader (left), Rudi Barman and Rob Gaunt meet the Duke of Cambridge.

Ravi Saini was on a summer holiday with his family in Scarborough in July 2020 when he was caught in a rip current in the South Bay sea.

Thankfully, the schoolboy remembered the RNLI’s “Float to Live” advice – to lie on your back like a starfish and relax – from a television show he had watched.

He was able to remain afloat for almost an hour before the lifeboat crew found and rescued him, returning him safely to his family.

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Ravi Saini with lifeboat crewman Rudi Barman, during a visit to Scarborough lifeboat station to thank them.

Ravi travelled to London to meet Prince William to mark Emergency Services Day (999 Day) on Thursday, September 9.

He said: "It was a great experience.

"I was quite nervous, but he was really friendly, and asked me about my story.

"The emergency services do so much in saving lives and get so little back that it is good they have a day when people think about them.”

Scarborough crew member Adam Sheader was keen to give Ravi the spotlight: ‘We don’t volunteer for the plaudits – the reward is knowing you’ve helped keep people safe when they visit our coastline.

"But it is nice to be recognised in this way, especially by someone like His Royal Highness, who’s volunteered his own time and effort as a pilot for the East Anglia Air Ambulance.

"Hopefully sharing Ravi’s story can help teach other children about water safety. He’s an inspiration to everybody.’

Ravi and the crew from RNLI Scarborough recently recalled his rescue for an episode of the RNLI’s podcast, ‘Lifesavers’:

Ravi said: "I realised that the water was coming up.

"I could no longer touch the floor. I shouted “Help! Help! Help!”

"My dad can’t swim. He just had to go to the shore and raise the alarm."

Hi dad Nathu added: "The water was round my neck and I lost my control, slowly, slowly he was going too far.

"Once or twice we saw his face. After that we didn't see him."

"I didn’t see the lifeboat, I heard it," Ravi said.

"Tiny splashes. So I started shouting and then I was like, 'Yes, they came to get me. I’m going to get a second chance to live!'"

Scarborough crew member Rudi Barman described Ravi as "an incredible young man".

"He resisted the urge to panic which, in those conditions, would have been a big problem.

"The fact that he was on his back floating to live is just amazing really. That's what saved his life."

Five steps to know how to float:

- If you fall into water, fight your instinct to thrash around.

- Lean back, extend your arms and legs.

- If you need to, gently move them around to help you float.

- Float until you can control your breathing.

- Only then, call for help or swim to safety.