A man whose life was saved by Eastbourne lifeguards using a defibrillator has met and thanked those who helped him.

Gilberto Rodrigues dos Santos, aged 62, went into cardiac arrest on the beach on Sunday 5 September.

Four lifeguards attended the scene and while the defibrillator was used, a fifth lifeguard liaised with emergency services from the Lifeguard Station

Mr Rodrigues dos Santos made a good recovery and is keeping well – thanks to the efforts of the lifeguards, and the defibrillator machine, which is located on the side of the Lifeguards’ Station near the Wish Tower slopes.

That defibrillator and one at the seafront office by the Bandstand are both funded by Eastbourne Borough Council.

Eastbourne Borough Council  runs the seasonal Eastbourne Lifeguards service, from 1 May – 30 September, with trained staff primarily made up of fire fighters, teachers and university students.

During the 2021 season, the lifeguards have assisted or rescued 25 people in 18 different incidents. These have included tired swimmers or swimmers being forced into groynes by rough waves, as well as trips and falls.

The lifeguards have also provided minor first aid to more than 100 people this year and given safety advice to thousands mainly around the safest areas to swim, sun safety and discouraging swimming during rough seas.

Eastbourne Borough Council’s Lead Member for Tourism and Culture Councillor Margaret Bannister said, “I am delighted to hear Mr Rodrigues dos Santos has made a full recovery.

“This is down to the actions by our fantastic team of extremely capable and professional lifeguards who performed the lifesaving procedures they had been trained to do without any hesitation.

“This is further testimony that visitors to Eastbourne seafront can rest assured that they are being taken care of.”

Eastbourne Lifeguards run “Tyro Lifeguard” lessons for eight – 14 year-olds three days a week throughout August, teaching them water and sun safety, first aid and CPR as well as rescue skills, radio communication and flag signalling.

The lifeguards encourage everyone of all ages to learn first aid skills so that they can help in an emergency. Anyone could need first aid assistance at any time and learning a few vital skills could save a life.

In general, the Council would always advise visitors to Eastbourne beach to swim in view of the lifeguards located near the Wish Tower and ask them for some tips and information on local hazards before getting in. If you see anyone in trouble in the water, you can call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Additional defibrillators are located at Holywell, on the lower promenade by Eastbourne Pier – provided by Eastbourne Lions Club – at Helen Gardens, funded by Meads Community Association and Eastbourne Borough Council’s Meads Ward Devolved Budget, and at Eastbourne Voluntary Lifeguards Clubhouse on Fisherman’s Green.