Two Hartlepool lifeguards were called into action when a horserider who could not swim got into trouble in the sea.
Ashley Boagey and Chris Ward rushed to the aid of a woman who fell from a horse and into the water at Seaton Carew - as well as a man who was trying to help her.
Ashley and Chris were on duty when Ashley spotted something in the water through his binoculars.
He explained: “I had a look and saw a lady just over shoulder deep in the water hanging off the horse’s head.
“I passed the binoculars to my colleague and he confirmed the same thing.
“As I had one final look, the lady fell off the horse and that’s when we decided we were going to respond. We got in the pick-up truck and drove down.”
Chris added: “It was clear she couldn’t swim so we had to take immediate action.
“I got out of the vehicle and got my torpedo buoy rescue equipment and ran into the sea.
“When I saw the casualty I realised there was a second person there.”
Chris waded out to the casualties in the cold sea but it got to the depth where he had to swim to reach them.
Ashley added: “The second person was in the water trying to hold her up, so I radioed back up to the base and informed them that I was going to join in with the rescue.”
Despite it being a calm day Ashley said the pair were quite a distance out.
He added: “I just swam out and assisted Chris with the rescue and picked up the second person and brought them back to the beach.”
The horse was also unhurt following the incident.
Debbie Kershaw, of Hartlepool Borough Council, which provides the lifeguards during the summer, praised their work.
She said: “The lifeguards did a splendid job and I’m extremely proud of them.
“The circumstances could have been very, very different if they hadn’t been on duty.
“We are advising people to come down to the beach, check where the flags are and swim between the flags.”
The lifeguards are now on duty between 10am and 6pm during the school summer holidays at Seaton Carew.
They are also stationed at the Fish Sands and Block Sands on the Headland until September 3.