Adventurer Bear Grylls is in hot water with lifeboat charity the RNLI after apparently leaving his young son on rocks in the sea as part of a training exercise for crews.
The survival expert and his eldest son Jesse, 11, went out with the RNLI’s Abersoch crew for a training mission, close to his holiday home on St Tudwal’s Island, north Wales.
But after Grylls, 41, tweeted a photograph of the boy standing alone on an outcrop waiting to be ‘rescued’, he was slammed by rescue charity for placing the child in a potentially dangerous situation.
The picture, which has since been deleted from Grylls’s Twitter account, was captioned: ‘Jesse and the @rnli on a training exercise to rescue him off the rocks!’
The UK’s Chief Scout, who is also father to Marmaduke, nine, and Huckleberry, six, had also tweeted a photograph of the crew’s boat, captioned ‘Heroes at work @RNLI’, which has also been deleted.
One crew member the replied, thanking Grylls, who is an ambassador for the RNLI, thanking him for ‘organising the exercise’, which took place on Thursday.
But when Abersoch RNLI manager Gareth Hughes found out about the mission on his return from holiday, he was shocked to learn that that the boy had been allowed to go out on the rocks.
‘As I understand it, it was supposed to be a low key exercise,’ said Mr Hughes.
‘I believe no photographs were supposed to be taken.
‘The crew tell me they didn’t know Bear’s son was going to be on the rocks, as there is an element of risk.
‘I certainly wouldn’t put my young son on those rocks, and also it could encourage people to do the same which would be unfortunate.
No one was thankfully hurt, but in his efforts to give the RNLI some publicity this is the wrong kind
Abersoch RNLI manager Gareth Hughes
‘No one was thankfully hurt, but in his efforts to give the RNLI some publicity this is the wrong kind.’
An RNLI spokesman said: ‘Bear Grylls had approached Abersoch RNLI during the week and asked if, on our normal Thursday training evening, we could do an exercise with him. We did not appreciate that the exercise would involve him putting his son on “Half Tide Rocks”.
‘Bear Grylls put his son on the rocks and then the lifeboat, as part of the exercise, rescued him from the rocks.
‘Abersoch RNLI has launched 15 times in the last three weeks and some of our shouts do involve rescuing children.
‘Last year a third of all those rescued by Abersoch were under 18. In hindsight the child should not have been on the rocks but everyone was acting with the best of intentions and getting valuable practice in rescuing a child.’
Half Tide Rocks is home to a seal colony and can be a treacherous spot for passing boats as they are often covered by the incoming tide.