Preston soldier saves the lives of two children pulled out of the sea in Blackpool

A 19-year-old Army recruit based in Preston has told how his training helped save the lives of two boys who get into difficulty swimming in the sea at Blackpool.

Private Michael Bunning, 19, a soldier based in Preston saved the lives of two teenagers pulled out of the sea in Blackpool this week.
Private Michael Bunning, 19, a soldier based in Preston saved the lives of two teenagers pulled out of the sea in Blackpool this week.

Private Michael Bunning, who joined the Army just months ago, used his CPR training to help save two lads pulled from the sea in Blackpool.

Two boys, aged 12 and 14, were rescued by two teenage girls after getting into difficulty while swimming near Blackpool’s Central Pier.

After being pulled out of the sea, Private Michael Bunning, a driver with 3 Medical Regiment based in Preston, gave CPR to the pair, helping to save their lives.

Michael, originally from Grantham, gave CPR to the boys until paramedics arrived.

How did Preston soldier Michael Bunning react?

Michael said: “My partner spotted them being rescued and we ran over. At first, I was only aware of the younger boy.

“I calmed people down and asked them to give me some space. I started giving CPR and he came around quite quickly.

“It was then that I was made aware of the other boy, so I put the first in the recovery position and started working on the other.”

Michael, originally from Grantham, Lincolnshire, kept up the CPR until paramedics arrived, five minutes after receiving the call. The boy started breathing again a few minutes later.

He said: “It was stressful, but my training just kicked in. It’s amazing the training we get, and we are constantly refreshing. I couldn’t have done it without that.”

Ambulance, Air Ambulance, fire crews, police and lifeguards were all called to the scene just before 6pm.

How are the rescued teenagers now?

The 14-year-old’s condition remains critical but stable at Alder Hay Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

The 12-year-old is described as poorly but not critical after being taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

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What do officials say about the incident?

A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We commend Michael’s actions for providing immediate care for the boys. In situations like this, every minute matters, and it sounds like his intervention was crucial on this occasion.

“We would encourage everyone to learn CPR and other first-aid skills as you never know if you might need to provide life-saving treatment to a family member, friend or even a stranger in an emergency.”

Superintendent Chris Hardy, of Blackpool Police, said: “This incident once again shows, all too clearly, the dangers that open water can present. I have no doubt that if it hadn’t been for the brave and swift actions of the two girls who pulled the boys from the water, and Michael, who gave CPR alongside nearby security staff, we would have been dealing with at least one fatality.

“I wish to commend the response of those involved whose heroic actions helped prevent what could have been a far worse and tragic outcome.”

How can you learn CPR skills?

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is an important skill to learn, as it could make the difference between life and death.

Numrous organisations offer online tutorials or in-person classes for members of the public, including the British Heart Foundation, the British Red Cross and even Youtube.