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_ I was swept out to sea during a walk along the beach and clung to rocks to survive - I prayed I wouldn't drown

_ I was swept out to sea during a walk along the beach and clung to rocks to survive - I prayed I wouldn't drown

A great-grandmother who was swept into the sea during a walk along the beach has recalled her terror at being 'seconds away from death'.

Julia Wilkins, from Llanber, Wales, was on the way to see her parents' grave when she strolled along the shore to enjoy a peaceful and private moment. 

However when the tide came in, Julia became caught in the waves. She managed to find a rock for support and desperately clung to it in a bid to save her own life.

But the water was rising rapidly and eventually went over her head which resulted in the pensioner being lifted off her feet.

Speaking about the horrifying ordeal on Channel 5's Coastguard, the 85-year-old recalled praying for a miracle as she was just seconds away from being swept out to sea - but at the last second she managed to pull out her phone and call for help.

Speaking to Channel 5 ahead of their new Coastguard series, Julia said: 'I knew then that the next [wave], I would be taken away.'  

In a desperate last attempt, she called 999 and alerted Barmouth Coastguard to her situation.

In the episode, the harrowing call Julia made to the coastguard in her time of need played and she could be heard saying: 'It's serious. The waves are hitting me, I'm on the rocks I'm going to be drowned, I'm soaking wet.

'In a minute the phone won't work because the water is splashing on my face and into the...' 

The frantic phone call was then cut off and her device lost signal. 

This is one of the most serious calls that HM coastguard can receive and as a result, two MCA boats and a helicopter rescue were immediately issued to find Julia. 

Personnel spent 20 minutes searching for the great-grandmother, who was nowhere to be seen and they started to assume the worst had happened.   

But then the camera on the helicopter spotted her clutching onto the rocks. She was then winched to safety onto the helicopter. She suffered from hypothermia and was then rushed to hospital for medical assistance.

Speaking about her about her terrifying experience, Julia said: 'I started praying that I didn't drown and before [the waves] came in those marvellous helicopter men arrived and took me up. I couldn't believe it, a miracle.'

When asked how close she was to dying, Julia said: 'The closest I've ever been. It was a matter of seconds, literally seconds. 

'I still can't comprehend why they went through all that trouble to save an old woman like me.

'I'm with my family again and I've had new grandchildren and great-grandchildren. [The coastguard] has given me life.' 

Her son, John Wilkins, said he received a distressing voice message from his mother when the waves were dragging her out to sea.

John said, in tears: 'I picked up a voicemail message from my mum the message was "Can you ring me, it's urgent." She sounded completely desperate that is the first time I've ever heard my mum sound like that.

'I knew from the sound of her voice that she was in mortal danger and that's got to be the worst thing I've actually heard.

'My mum is legendary. I want to express my gratitude and thanks to everybody in involved in the rescue of my mum. I am extremely grateful to those people.'

Julia was nicknamed 'egg granny' because she was found still clutching onto her handbag with a box of eggs in it when she was rescued. 

Shockingly none of the eggs were broken in the operation, with her son joking: 'I think she seemed more happy to see the eggs than she was to see me.'


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