Rowing club members describe rescue of teenage girl from water in Worthing

A young crew from Worthing Rowing Club have been praised for pulling a teenage girl from the water near Splash Point in Worthing last Tuesday.

Young members of the rowing club help rescued the girl from the water
Young members of the rowing club help rescued the girl from the water

The novice men’s crew at Worthing Rowing Club were in the middle of a training session ahead of the regatta on Saturday when the sculler saw the girl and asked the crew of five to assist.

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Mike van Doorn said they rowed over and tried to pass her a blade to hold onto.

When she did not respond, he said: “I decided that I couldn’t leave her there so I jumped in.

“I grabbed her and pulled her to the side of the boat.”

The crew, who were far out from shore in the high tide, began to carefully row back to the beach while Mike clung on.

The 31-year-old said: “It was certainly a bit of an experience holding on to the side of the boat.”

Rob Bradley, the coxswain, who at 15 was the youngest crew member, directed the crew back to shore and said: “It felt like it took a long time, we couldn’t go very fast.”

They reached the beach safely to find police officers waiting to take the girl home.

Donovan Tomlinson, 16, who was also on the boat, said the other two members of the crew were relatively inexperienced.

He said: “Us three have rowed together before but the others were new so we were a new crew out there. It’s good that we did it.”

Gill McLean, secretary at Worthing Rowing Club, praised the team for their efforts.

She said: “It’s really quite amazing what they did.

“Two of the crew were only 15 years old and another two had only just started rowing so they did very well in a difficult situation.

“We are very proud of how they reacted to it. They coped very well.”

A spokesman from Sussex Police thanked everyone involved for their assistance.

The Shoreham lifeboat was also called but was stood down on route to the scene.