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    RADIO ROXI TIMELESS TUNES

Local News

Cold water swim leaves Swansea dad paralysed on New Year’s Eve at Langland Bay | UK News

today29/01/2024

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A man who was left paralysed from the neck down after a New Year’s Eve swim has said the support he’s received has been “incredible”.

Dan Richards, 35, and his partner Anna Thomas, 38, were celebrating the New Year with a cold water swim in Langland Bay, having moved in together earlier that day.

The couple, from Swansea, were planning to visit family members after their mid-afternoon dip.

Dan Richards and Anna Thomas
Image:
Dan Richards and Anna Thomas (middle) moments before the incident. Pic: Anna Thomas

“The plan was just to go in, have a quick dip and then get out as quick as possible just because it was so cold,” Mr Richards told Sky News.

“Something we’ve done – if I said hundreds of times I wouldn’t be exaggerating.”

Mr Richards got into the water, reached thigh level and dived into a wave, which was more powerful than it seemed.

“It just rotated me, so instead of me coming up, it took me down and the back of my head hit the sand, with my momentum going forward,” he said.

“And just the power of the wave hitting me down, it broke my neck so I was paralysed instantly.”

Dan Richards and  Anna Thomas
Image:
Pic: Anna Thomas

Before he called for help, Mr Richards recalls a “loud noise, a very bright light”.

“Then I opened my eyes underwater. I could see my limbs but had no control over them so I held my breath,” he added.

After Ms Thomas, her mother, and a family friend, carried Mr Richards to safety, he was transferred by air to a hospital in Bristol for further treatment.

Dan Richards and Anna Thomas
Image:
Pic: Anna Thomas

When the medical team confirmed Mr Richards was paralysed from the neck down, Ms Thomas said her “world just fell apart”.

“It was New Year’s Eve and it was early but I could hear people laughing and joking in the rooms next to me and I just thought I’ve just been told this news, how on earth am I going to ring his parents to tell them? And then my second thought was obviously to Hailey, Dan’s daughter,” she said.

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After what has been unbelievably difficult news to come to terms with, the support shown by members of the community has been “overwhelming”, the couple say.

Dan Richards and Anna Thomas
Image:
Pic: Anna Thomas

“My family, Dan’s family, support from strangers. There’s a gentleman on a ward upstairs that has heard about our story and has donated,” Ms Thomas said.

“People’s kindness and generosity has been just something we didn’t expect, something we didn’t see coming. It’s been incredible,” Mr Richards added.



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