« Il y a eu une situation sans précédent à Biarritz où un groupe d’environ quarante surfeurs et baigneurs a nécessité une opération de sauvetage simultanée. »

l’essentielIn Biarritz, the rescuers had to simultaneously help about forty surfers and swimmers this Saturday. The tide caused panic on one of Europe’s most famous surf beaches.

What happened on Saturday, September 30th at Côte des Basques beach? In Biarritz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), around forty surfers who were trapped in the ocean due to the tide had to be rescued simultaneously.

The incident occurred in the mid-afternoon, between 3 PM and 4 PM, at one of Europe’s best surfing spots. Swimmers and surfers were surprised by waves reaching nearly 1.20 meters in height. « It was the tide of the year, » says Franck Billard, a lifeguard, to France Bleu Pays Basque. On site, the waves crashed onto the stairs along the coast: « It creates large movements of water, backwash. And there, you can get hurt […] Some surfers start to leave and, like a snowball effect, everyone wanted to leave at the same time, » the individual adds.

The surfboards go in all directions.

If at first, around ten surfers find themselves trapped between the stairs and the rocks, tossed around by rather violent waves, about thirty other athletes have eventually been added to the list, further complicating the rescue operation. « Many people are immobilized on the rocks, surfboards are going in all directions, » Franck Billard recounts. « It’s a bit of a panic on board. »

Three off-duty rescuers eventually came to the aid of the surfers. Three jet skis and a helicopter were also deployed on site. « It was the first time we had so many surfers trapped at the same time, » said the rescuer. Fortunately, all swimmers and surfers were rescued: no injuries were reported. The prefecture of Nouvelle-Aquitaine had called for caution due to the risks of rip currents.

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