A 15-YEAR-OLD Cardiff boy, Paul Brewer, of 9, Lake Road North, Roath, described today his ordeal of three hours adrift in a small canoe in Whitmore Bay, Barry Island.
Paul, who had been on a camping holiday with three friends was making his way alone across the bay towing another canoe loaded with equipment when strong currents threatened to take him out to sea
He was rescued within 10 minutes of disaster after a shore Watcher saw his signals for help.
Water up to waist
“I could not turn around and I made no progress against the current.” Paul said at his home today. “I was rather worried because, every few minutes the canoe was swamped by waves. The water was soon up to my waist and I decided to signal for help”.
“I had jettisoned my heavy signaling lamp and my flares were wet and useless. All I had was a small hand torch.
“When l signaled to a small boat that came close they did not see me. So I hopefully flashed an SOS in Morse towards the shore – it was less than 100 yards away, yet I could not reach it.”
Paul’s SOS was seen by a coast watcher, who ran down to the docks and told Lloyd’s Signal Station. A boat was launched to go to his aid. It brought him and his two canoes, one which was practically submerged, safely back to the harbour.
One of his rescuers told Paul: “Another 10 minutes would have been too late.”
Paul and his friends, David Denning. Raymond Baron and Nicholas Hall, had been on a camping holiday since Monday at Porthkerry Park He was paddling alone across the bay because during the night someone had stolen the two land carriages for the canoes.
It was impossible to carry the canoes and the camping gear overland to the place where the boys had left their bicycles so Paul set off alone by sea with the equipment.