If you tuned into your TV tonight, you may have seen a gripping rescue of two boys swept out to sea.

BBC documentary series Saving Lives at Sea, which showcases the life-saving work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), returned to the small screen  - and left viewers on the edge of their seats as it featured a dramatic rescue carried out by Lyme Regis lifeboat crew of two boys who were swept out to sea from the River Axe.

The series gives a unique insight into the lives and work of the charity’s lifesavers who are needed more than ever before, rescuing thousands of people and saving hundreds of lives around our coastline and on inland waterways every year.

The new series features more dramatic real-life rescue footage, accompanied by emotive testimonials from the volunteer crews, lifeguards and the people they rescue and their families.

Tonight’s episode saw Lyme Regis volunteers rush to the rescue of two 14-year-old boys being swept out to sea in June last year. 

Archie Woollacott jumped off the harbour wall into the River Axe and began to be swept towards the sea. His friend, Bozhidrar Bobev - Bo - jumped in to help, but both were taken by the current some 200 metres from the river mouth.

Lyme Regis lifeboat, the Spirit of Loch Fyne, was launched at 6.20pm and was guided towards the boys by Beer coastguards.Both boys, suffering from the effects of cold water, were taken aboard the lifeboat before being winched up to the coastguard helicopter. They were then taken ashore and to hospital in Exeter for check ups.

Archie, who lives near Marshwood, returned to Lyme Regis RNLI station later that week to say thank you to the crew - delivering a lemon drizzle cake he'd baked himself which he presented to RNLI members.

The rescue was shown during tonight's episode on BBC2, which also saw Poole and Swanage RNLI volunteers involved in one of the largest searches carried out by the RNLI, alongside rescue stories from their colleagues at other stations and beaches around our coasts.

Dave Riley, volunteer Helm at Poole Lifeboat Station, which also featured in the series, said: "The TV series gives a good insight into what it’s like to be at the sharp end of going out to sea.

"No two shouts are ever the same and in this episode, you’ll get to see the emotion and thoughts of the volunteers as they deal with one of the toughest calls in recent times."

Dave Turnbull, Swanage lifeboat coxswain, said: "In this episode you’ll see how a number of volunteers across eight lifeboats from six lifeboat stations worked together in an incident off the Dorset coast.

"When the call comes in and you go to sea you are one team giving it your all."

Filming for the series took place over the past year, with lifeboat crews and lifeguards carrying special cameras and welcoming film-makers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited, and we get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the thousands of men and women who give up their time to save lives.

In 2018, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland rescued 9,412 people, saving 211 lives, while the charity’s lifeguards aided 32,207 people and saved 118 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

  • Lyme Regis RNLI crew plucks two teenage boys out of the sea   VIDEO: RNLI