Two swimmers were trapped on a slippery cliff ledge at Kai Iwi Beach in Whanganui on Sunday after being caught in a rip and swept south.

The pair, believed to be a father and daughter, were safely rescued when emergency services and two surf lifeguard rescue teams were called to the scene.

Whanganui's Surf Lifesaving Club supervisor Phil Gilmore said the pair went out swimming at about midday before the surf lifeguards had arrived for duty at 12.30pm.

"With the help of the police, firefighters and two rescue choppers, the swimmers were able to get onto a ledge but it was slippery and they were trapped in high seas at a high tide."


Gilmore said the choppers weren't able to get to the swimmers so he sent out two surf rescue boats, one from Castlecliff and one from Kai Iwi.

"Looking at the conditions we were gearing up for a body rescue. The waves were about two metres high hitting the cliff face hard. We had to pick a time and get in quick."

Gilmore said he knew there was a sandbar about 50 metres out so he located it and they managed to get the swimmers there quickly.

"[The swimmers] were then taken in another surf rescue boat straight to shore probably going through four or five huge waves."

The female swimmer was rushed to Whanganui Hospital in a ambulance with an injured ankle and the man was unharmed.

And just as the panic started to dial down another incident occurred at around 6pm at Castlecliff Beach in Whanganui.

Gilmore said just after the surf lifeguards on duty had packed up a young girl who was swimming in a hole got caught in a rip.

"The mother went in after her and the lifeguard, who was still on the beach, was able to get to them and bring them both safely to shore, and neither of them needed medical attention."


He said the tide had turned and waves had got pretty huge which meant that the water was trying to exit the beach quite quickly which accelerated the rip in the hole area.

The Chronicle contacted the Whanganui Hospital for a condition check on the woman with the injured ankle but was unable to get an update.

Gilmore said, including Sunday's two incidents, there had been four "close-call rescues" this summer in Whanganui.

"Whanganui's beaches are west coast beaches and forever changing and people have got to be mindful of that.

"If in doubt, stay out. If you're not sure and the conditions do look rough, go to the Splash Centre."

He said people needed to remember the surf lifeguards were there to save lives if needed but they also put their lives at risk.

"People sometimes don't realise that we are not super-human and we can only do what we do."