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Three children and an adult were taken to Uist and Barra hospital yesterday afternoon (Monday 5 July), after a fast-moving and frightening hour’s activity on the shore in Benbecula.

Stornoway Coastguard operations centre received a 999 call at 2.55pm from a young person on the beach at Culla Bay, reporting that two friends were in the water and were being swept out to sea.

HM Coastguard tasked search and rescue helicopter R948 to the scene, along with Coastguard Rescue Teams from Lochboisdale, Lochmaddy and Benbecula.

Scottish Ambulance were also asked to attend and the vessel Monarch Isle, just a mile off the coast, responded to a general mayday call for assistance, turning towards the scene of the emergency.

One child was able to get out of the water on their own, while a surfer who was on the area helped the other child out of the water using the board.

Rescue helicopter R948 landed nearby to allow paramedics to check everyone’s immediate health and all four people were then taken on by ambulance for further checks at the hospital.

A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said: “This is a timely reminder, along with our current summer safety campaign during Maritime Safety Week, that you should always be careful around water, however well you feel you know the specific area.

“One of the group, who had remained ashore, did the exact right thing – dialled 999 and asked for the Coastguard. Well done!”

All teams were stood down and the Mayday call was lifted at 3.56pm.

Pictures show SAR helicopter R948 after landing nearby to uplift the casualties