A father and son on holiday in Weymouth today told how they rescued a man from the sea in front of shocked onlookers.

Former Royal Mechanical Engineer David Elsey was walking along Weymouth seafront with his family, including son Jamie, when they spotted a man struggling in the water.

The 68-year-old, who was on holiday for the weekend from Gosport in Hampshire when they saw the man in distress on the evening of September 19, said: “We were walking along the seafront as a family and saw there was a crowd gathering on the beach near to the clock tower.

“There was a man in the sea about 10ft into the water with the waves breaking over him. He seemed like he just couldn’t get out and he was in distress even though the water is shallow.

“A woman said her husband had called 999 but everyone else seemed to be just standing there watching him struggle. Nobody ran down to help him. I couldn’t believe that so many people were crowding around watching him but not going down to help him.

“I said to my son, ‘come on, let’s get him out’. We ran down into the water along with another woman and dragged him on to the shingle to safety and put him in the recovery position.”

David and son Jamie, 40, waited with the man - until police and paramedics arrived at the scene.

He said: “He was really in a bad way. The ambulance arrived and I told them his condition seemed bad. He was still breathing when we left the scene but his condition didn’t look good.

“We walked on once the ambulance had arrived so we don’t know how he is now.”

The incident took place at around 9pm on Saturday, September 19.

A South Western Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called about an incident in the water in the area of the Esplanade, Weymouth.

“We treated a male patient and transported him to hospital by land ambulance for further care.”

The Coastguard were also alerted to the situation.

A spokesman for Wyke Coastguard Rescue Team said: "The team was tasked, just before 9pm, to a person recovered from the water on Weymouth Sands.

"The casualty was placed in an ambulance and taken to hospital."