Watch: Dramatic scenes as quick-thinking 'human chain' used to rescue four people swept away by rough seas
One person dies from drowning each day in the UK and Ireland, the RNLI said.
It is fortunate no-one died in a string of failed attempts to rescue a man who fell into the sea, a lifeboat manager has said.
The man slipped off the seafront walk in Redcar, North Yorkshire, and was “battered by large waves” just after 4pm on Good Friday, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said.
A man he was with then tried to pull him out, only to get stuck himself, swiftly followed by two unfortunate passers-by attempting to help the pair.
Footage shows all four struggling to climb up a soaking, slanted wall, repeatedly pulled back into the water by strong waves.
Other members of the public threw life-rings and eventually pulled them out by forming a human chain.
Dave Cocks, a local operations manager at the RNLI, said: “This was a sequence of events which could so easily have led to multiple deaths.
“The sea at Redcar is very rough as a result of the combined effects of strong winds and a particularly high tide, and the situation ended up with four adults in trouble in the sea, all needing rescue.
“It is only through good fortune that all four were rescued alive.”
All four were taken to hospital and treated for the effects of cold water immersion, the RNLI said.
One person dies from drowning each day in the UK and Ireland, Mr Cocks added.
If you see someone struggling in water you should call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.