'Get out of the sea!' Families flee for safety while enjoying beach day

1 month ago 50

The announcement was made as families flocked to the beach as temperatures ramped up this weekend.

18:15, Sun, May 19, 2024 | UPDATED: 18:17, Sun, May 19, 2024

Barry Island

Beach goers were urged to get out of the water after concerns were raised (Image: WalesOnline)

Dozens of beach goers have been ordered out of the water amid concerns over "water quality" at a popular destination in Wales.

Families were enjoying the warm spell of weather this weekend as temperatures reached 23C in parts of the UK. But their beach day was abruptly halted after being told to get out of the water on Saturday at Barry Island.

The Gwyl Fach y Fro, an annual festival featuring music, street entertainment, craft stalls and food and drink, was taking place at the time and the good weather had attracted large crowds.

But some families reported that around 4pm there was a 'water quality' tannoy announcement asking everyone to come out of the sea because there had been an alert saying it was not safe to swim.

It comes after a charity issued a warning that 19 beach and seafront destinations in Wales had been polluted by storm sewage or given a poor water classification, reports WalesOnline.

Surfers Against Sewage, one of the UK's most successful marine conservation and campaigning charities, published the alerts on its website.

There was also one for the beach at Barry Island that said: "Pollution Alert: Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours. The bay is a sandy 700m cove located, west of Barry Docks and Jackson's Bay.

"It faces south towards the Bristol Channel, backed by the dock area and the town of Barry. Seaside shops can be found in the immediate foreground, with limestone cliffs on either side and headlands called Friars Point to the west and Nell´s Point to the east."

Hayley Graham, from Barry, went to the beach with her children aged eight and one after the festival. Her youngest daughter was in the water when they heard the tannoy announcement to get out.

She said: "We were so shocked when we heard the announcement. We know that there can be issues with sewage on the beach but you do not expect it on a warm and sunny weekend. There was a lot of confusion and upset. We took the children home and scrubbed them because they had been fully immersed in the water. Even the smallest amount of raw sewage in the water is enough."

One parent said: "It’s so embarrassing that this happened during a high profile cultural event when people were cooling off on a hot day as they enjoyed the festival." Another said: "Lifeguards at Barry Island just told everyone to get out of the water due to low water quality."

Welsh Water said it had not issued any safety alerts for the area. The Vale of Glamorgan Council and Natural Resources Wales have been approached for a comment.

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