Hero uncle played with nephews and niece on beach before he drowned saving them

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Callum drowned after rescuing three children from a rip current in 2021 (Image: dorset police)
Callum drowned after rescuing three children from a rip current in 2021 (Image: dorset police)

A woman has told of the heart-wrenching moment her brother sacrificed his own life to save her from drowning after rescuing three of her children from a ferocious rip current.

Callum Baker-Osborne came to the rescue of his two nephews and a niece after an 'incredibly strong wave' knocked them into the sea while at a beach in Dorset.

Exhausted from the rescue mission he was swept towards his sister, Samantha Osborne-Ward, and clung to her for help.

But after she told him that she was at risk of drowning, he immediately let go of his sibling and disappeared under the water.

The 18-year-old tragically drowned in the incident and his body was only found four days later.

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Hero uncle played with nephews and niece on beach before he drowned saving themCallum's mother (centre) and his family attended the inquest at Bournemouth Town Hall (BNPS)

As an inquest into his death begins, Callum's family have released poignant photos of the hero uncle just moments before the tragedy occurred.

The devastating incident took place on the afternoon of July 26, 2021, while the family were on a last-minute caravan holiday at Haven Rockley Park in Hamworthy, Poole, Dorset.

30 members of the extended family had gone to a beach near Black Bridge to enjoy what was supposed to be the 'nicest weather of the holiday'.

But as they paddled in the sea a 'blast' of water dragged the family underwater and the young children began struggling.

Callum dove into the water to rescue his eight-year-old nephew, Byron, before going to the aid of another nephew, Cameron.

After helping the boys to get above the water, Callum heard his sister's pleas for help as her seven-year-old daughter, Aurora, was swept away.

The 18-year-old powered through the water to rescue the young girl, lifting her over his head and to the safety of a rescue boat.

Hero uncle played with nephews and niece on beach before he drowned saving themAn air and sea search for Callum was launched following the incident (BNPS)

The powerful current then swept him towards Samantha and he clung on to her, exhausted.

But when the pair were dragged underwater and Samantha told Callum that she was drowning, he instantly let go of her.

Callum went under again but sadly failed to resurface from the water with the rest of his family.

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The Bournemouth inquest heard that the family hadn't been to many beaches before and because of lockdown some younger family members hadn't been to the sea before.

But Callum's sister told the inquest how he had been excited to go to the beach and take his nieces and nephews swimming.

Describing the horrifying ordeal, she said: "I was up to my knees in the water near my mum and some of the kids were enjoying walking along.

"Aurora got scared and asked to go on my back and Kylan was in front of us kicking water.

"I remember turning around and seeing Callum diving towards Byron, then a sudden big gush of water tugged us under.

"It was the biggest blast, we all got wiped out and then we struggled up. The first thing I saw was Aurora out in the water drowning and alone.

"I screamed for someone to help."

Cameron, who was 5ft 5ins tall, was an avid swimmer and was very fit at the time of the incident because he did rugby training twice a week, the inquest heard.

Samantha added: "Callum was helping Cameron (his nephew) and I knew he was the strongest swimmer so I called for him to help.

"He was struggling to get to Aurora because the water was pushing him towards me. I was trying to get over to help her too and I was also holding Nalla who was screaming.

"I saw Callum pushing Aurora up out of the water and into the air telling her to breathe.

"He drifted towards me and he held onto me for help, he was exhausted.

"I told him he was drowning me and he instantly let go. I went under the water again and this time he didn't come back up with us."

Hero uncle played with nephews and niece on beach before he drowned saving themCallum's body was found at Lake Pier (BNPS)

Callum's mum, Mrs Ann Marie Osbourne, was also in the water moments before the rip current struck as she was trying to help eight-year-old Byron.

She said: "I was just helping Byron out of the water, he'd gone under earlier so I thought I'd take him back to shore.

"Then Imogen (another eight-year-old) hit my back with some force, she came out of nowhere.
"I could hear her saying 'don't let me drown'.

"I had Byron on one arm and Imogen on the other and suddenly the floor was gone. I was just trying to keep them both above the water, I was being pushed around in a spiral.

"I couldn't understand what was happening. I had given everything I could.

"I passed the kids to Patrick who had come to help and the next thing I knew I was on a boat and someone was telling me to breath.

"All I could think was where was Imogen? Both those kids were incredibly brave, they kept me going."

Following the incident, a huge air and sea search was launched to look for Callum, whose body was recovered at Lake Pier in Hamworthy, on the morning of July 30.

A post-mortem examination confirmed he died from drowning and his family has since called for the Rockley Point beach to be closed due to its notorious rip current.

Tom Burgess

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