BRAVE beach-goers faced "massive freak waves" to rescue a man who was being dragged out to sea.

A man was swimming in the sea at Durdle Door beach on Thursday when he found himself caught in strong tides and huge waves.

He started waving at people on the beach who rushed to his aid, forming a human chain to try and rescue him.

Eventually another man rushed in to save the stranded swimmer and somehow managed to battle the tide to drag them both ashore.

Bridport resident Emily Foote was walking around Lulworth with a friend when she saw the traumatic scenes unfold.

She said: "We were there from about midday, I think this guy had been swimming for ages and he was getting on fine.

"Then suddenly these massive freak waves came in so quickly and he just got stuck and he couldn't get back. At first he was waving his arms at people on the beach and we all thought he was just waving at us but then people realised and just sprinted over.

"There was a chain of about 30 or 40 people trying to reach him but the waves were so big they were getting taken out too and more people had to rush over and help.

"It was mainly men helping, but anyone smaller would have been swept off their feet. I have never seen waves like that, they were so strong. They were about 10 or 15 feet high but it wasn't even the size of them it was just they came all the way in and all the way back out. Every five seconds there would be another massive freak wave.

"They threw a body board out, just so he could have something to cling onto, but that just got thrown back by the waves.

"One guy, he just grabbed a buoyancy aid and ran into the sea. He got to the original guy who was just absolutely knackered. I don't know how but he managed to drag him in with him and the whole beach started cheering and clapping."

Despite his ordeal, Emily said the man was fine afterwards. "There were no paramedics called, noone came to the beach to help.

"To be honest even if someone had got through to the coastguard they wouldn't have managed to get there on time, it just happened so fast. The whole thing took probably about five minutes but it felt like hours because they tried so many times to get him back in.

"It was a very traumatic rescue by some very brave members of the public of a swimmer who owes his life to them all.

"It should serve as a warning of the dangers of the sea and tide especially in these winds as so many putting themselves at risk.

"I just think, in times like these when we are told not to go near other people, the fact that nobody even hesitated to help, I just think full credit to everyone that helped."