There was Easter Sunday drama on the beaches yesterday when two people had to be airlifted to hospital in separate incidents on the north coast.

A surfer with a head wound and suspected spinal injury was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth by coastguard helicopter, after being injured at Porthtowan beach.

Portreath Coastguard Rescue Team were scrambled to Wheal Charlotte, at the eastern end of the beach, at around 2.15pm, where they found the surfer in the care of the RNLI beach lifeguards.

St Agnes Inshore Lifeboat was also called but the coastguard helicopter Rescue 924 was able to land on the sand just before the incoming spring tide, to which the surfer was carefully carried on.

The coastguards had only just returned to their station when they were called out again immediately, just before 3.30pm, to reports of people in difficulty in the water at Higher Godrevy Cove.

The volunteer rescue team arrived to find three people being brought ashore by the Godrevy RNLI beach lifeguards.

The coastguard helicopter had again been scrambled and St Ives Lifeboat Station had sent both its inshore and all weather lifeboats, with Cornwall Air Ambulance also landing.

A teenage girl was taken by stretcher across the beach to the air ambulance, to be flown to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for treatment, while two other young girls were passed into the care of the South Western Ambulance Service.

In what was proving to a particularly busy afternoon for the coastguards, almost as soon as the air ambulance had taken off the team was told of a kayaker that had come off into the water at the entrance to Portreath harbour.

Returning to the village they found the man had been rescued by another two members of coastguard team and an off duty lifeguard. They retrieved his kayak and the coastguards returned to the station for 5.15pm.

The break was shortlived, however, as 30 minutes later they were alerted to four people being cut off by the incoming tide at Amy Side, Portreath.

The coastguards arrived on scene to find the casualties had reached a place of safety and were unharmed. They were escorted from there back to the beach by the team, who were back at the station for 6.15pm.