Aidan Brown

Airlifted Date: 
Christmas Eve 2012
Airlifted From: 
Carlyon Bay
Nature of Incident: 

Cornwall’s beaches are popular all year round, even in winter. A haven for water sports enthusiasts and dog walkers, they are both majestic and beautiful. They can also be dangerous.

Aidan, aged 9 at the time, was walking on Carlyon Bay with his mum Karen, sister Chloe and brother Alex on Christmas Eve. It had been a great family day out.

Karen recalls: “I had taken the kids bowling and we decided to finish the day off with a walk on the beach with the dogs. The beach was really busy with lots of families just doing what we were I guess.

“We had walked on that beach countless times before and never for one moment could have predicted what was about to happen.

“Our Sheltie dog, Tye, jumped into the stream that runs down the beach. The water was running faster than usual and Tye was swept out into the sea.”

Before Karen could stop them, Chloe, Alex and Aidan ran into the sea.

“Within seconds all of them were in trouble,” Karen remembers.

“The sea was violently churning and I couldn’t see them. Mother’s instinct kicked in and I went in after them.

“Aidan and Alex were clinging to each other but Aidan was in trouble. Alex was keeping him afloat but his strength was fading fast.”

Karen got Chloe to shore and went back out for Aidan and Alex.

“I scrambled up the beach, holding my beautiful boy, limp in my arms. Aidan was unconscious. He was breathing bubbles of salt water.”

Within five minutes Cornwall Air Ambulance arrived on-scene.

“I felt so reassured. The team were so professional. A Search and Rescue helicopter arrived. Because all of us needed to go to hospital we were taken onboard the Sea King, along with the Cornwall Air Ambulance Paramedics who worked on Aidan on the way.”

Thankfully, everyone made a full recovery. Two years on Aidan has even regained the confidence to get back in the sea swimming.

Karen has two messages for parents: “Make sure you and your children are aware of dangers at the beach. And support Cornwall Air Ambulance. You never expect to need it, but anyone can at any time.”

And Tye the dog? He came scampering up the beach, cold and wet, but unscathed.

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