Two five-year-old girls were swept out to sea on a blow-up swan after the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) warned parents about potentially “deadly” inflatable floats.
The children were sat on the plastic bird in the shallows at Minehead, Somerset, when a strong gust of wind pushed them offshore at 3.30pm on Saturday.
The father of one of the girl had been holding a line attached to the float, but it slipped through his hands and blew out of his reach before he had time to react.
Volunteer lifeboat helm Phil Sanderson said: “He waded into the water and tried to swim out to them but the thing was just moving too quickly and he couldn’t get near it.
“He did exactly the right thing: he shouted to the girls to stay on the inflatable and then the family dialled 999.”