RNLI defends Bear Grylls after son left on rocks for rescue training exercise
Published 11/08/2015 | 10:18
TV action man Bear Grylls was at the centre of a row after his young son was left on rocks for a lifeboat training exercise.
The survival specialist tweeted a picture of Jesse Grylls, 12, standing on the rocks to his 1.2 million followers, saying: "Jesse and the @RNLI on a training exercise to rescue him off the rocks!"
But when the lifeboat station manager at Abersoch, North Wales, returned from holiday he criticised using the boy during the rescue exercise.
Gareth Hughes said the lifeboat crew understood it was a "low key" routine training exercise and were not aware the youngster was to be involved.
Mr Hughes told the Daily Post newspaper: "I certainly wouldn't put my young son on those rocks, and also it could encourage people to do the same which would be unfortunate.
"No one was thankfully hurt, but in his efforts to give the RNLI some publicity this is the wrong kind."
Grylls was understood to be on holiday in North Wales at his home on St Tudwal's Island at the time of the exercise, last Thursday.
Over 200 people accidentally die each year around the British coast and earlier this year, the RNLI launched a new Respect The Water campaign.
Today the RNLI said the station manager Mr Hughes would not be made available for comment and issued an official statement.
The charity said: "The RNLI has worked with Bear Grylls over a number of years and he has been a great ambassador, which we are very grateful for.
"Last Thursday, on their normal training evening, the crew at Abersoch agreed to carry out a joint exercise with Bear.
"The lifeboat was in close attendance, the boy was in sight at all times and wearing a life jacket."
The photo of Jesse Grylls on the rocks appears to have been deleted from Bear Grylls' Twitter account.