A man has died on a popular beach despite desperate attempts to save his life.
Paramedics tried to resuscitate the man for more than an hour after he got into difficulty bodyboarding in the water.
One witness told North Wales Live that he was “shocked” to see holidaymakers still surfing at the tourist hotspot near a Gwynedd seaside resort as his “distraught” family watched on.
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Coastguard rescue teams were joined by a search and rescue helicopter on Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth), near Abersoch, on Friday afternoon (August 6).
They had been responding to a 999 call reporting three people in difficulty in the water.
The beach, known for its on-shore winds and difficult swimming conditions, is popular with surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
One surfer said the scenes he saw were “terribly sad and emotional”.
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Bryn Dando, 45, from Llanfair Caereionion, near Welshpool, filmed the Coastguard helicopter landing before switching off his camera when realising a tragedy was unfolding before him.
He said: “There was a crowd of people surrounding someone on their back on the beach.
“The paramedics from the helicopter were racing across the beach – several of us ran over with towels to keep him warm.
“Other surfers had brought their boards and formed a windbreak around him.
“I didn’t want to intrude anymore, I wanted to retreat to a respectful distance, as his family was obviously distraught.”
Bryn said he was “shocked” to see people still surfing as paramedics fought to save the man’s life.
Worse still, he claimed, others were standing close by and filming the scene.
He added: “After watching the CPR being performed for about half an hour you fear the worst.
“But those paramedics continued to give CPR for an hour and 10 minutes.
“They kept on changing over as they were getting exhausted. It takes a lot of physical effort to maintain CPR for that length of time.
“They did everything they could, but he was gone.
“I’ve never witnessed something like that before. I just had to go and find a quiet spot and have a little cry.”
Bryn said local surfers also responded magnificently: he believes two of them brought the casualty back to shore in difficult conditions. Witnesses said he had been bodyboarding.
“The wind was blowing at about 20 knots, so surfers were offering their towels to try and keep the man warm,” he said.
“Another comforted his daughter, who was wrapped in a towel shivering and crying.”
HM Coastguard said it had been altered at around 2.30pm on Friday (August 6).
(Image: (Image: Bryn Dando))
A spokesperson said: “Coastguard rescue teams from Aberdaron and Abersoch were sent alongside the search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon, the Welsh Ambulance Service and North Wales Police.”
The beach’s semicircular shape, resembling a wide, open mouth, is not the only reason for its dramatic English name, which gained popularity as more tourists arrived in the area.
Hell’s Mouth also stems from the bay’s south-westerly winds, which offer little shelter to vessels.
If boats were blown into Porth Neigwl, they found it difficult to escape, and captains would often ground their ships on the beach to await better weather.
It is these conditions that have made the bay popular with surfers.
Swimmers, however, are warned to beware the strong currents and undertows.
Red signs on the beach also warn of large breaking waves, unstable cliffs and a steep shelving beach. Inflatables are advised to take extra care in strong winds.
Bryn said the incident had shocked him into buying a buoyancy aid and enrolling on a first-aid course. He hopes others will do likewise.
He has also pledged to set up direct debits for the emergency services involved – the Coastguard, RNLI and Welsh Ambulance Service.
Six weeks ago, after suffering a PTSD-related seizure, he was brought down from Cader Idris mountain in the same Coastguard helicopter used in yesterday’s incident.
“Even if it’s just a few pounds a week, it all helps to fund these heroes whose services we may all be in need of one day,” he said.
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