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999 the seal sparks emergency response
A man was “grinning from ear-to-ear” after sharing his morning swim with a seal.
The swimmer was taking a dip off Cooden beach in Bexhill when the seal joined in.
But a person on the beach mistook the seal for a second swimmer and when he dived down in the hunt for food panicked and called the emergency services.
Their suspicions were heightened when the swimmer, who lives in Cooden, started screaming.
He was actually yelling with “sheer joy” but the witness thought he was shouting for help.
Dover Coastguard alerted their Bexhill branch and Dick Rowsell and colleague Tony Lane were first at the scene.
Mr Rowsell, of Bexhill, yesterday said: “Dover coastguard had a call. It said that there were two swimmers off Cooden and one appeared to be in difficultly.
“We got there very quickly. As we arrived we could see a swimmer coming out of the sea with a grin from ear-to-ear.
“He told us that he had been swimming and a local seal had decided to join in. He said it had been ‘chasing his toes’ as he was swimming. He couldn’t believe his luck.
“But eventually, after about ten minutes, the seal got fed up and dived down for fish.
“He didn’t emerge and the person who reported the incident thought that this was a swimmer in difficulty.”
Mr Rowsell said the seal, who he suggested should be called 999 because of the scare he prompted, was well known in Bexhill.
He said: “We have been called to it before. People think it is stranded. Once someone thought it was dead. But it is just minding its own business. It’s quite a friendly chap and just lies on the sand.
“But people should really leave seals alone. They can be aggressive and carry diseases.
“It would be quite unpleasant if one took a chunk out of your toes while you were swimming.”
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