When Mike Hall was pulled out of the Ogmore Estuary he showed no signs of life and rescuers believed they had reached him too late. He had no pulse and was blue in the face with his eyes wide open. Moments before he had been excited to enjoy a spot of fishing.

RNLI volunteers and several members of the public performed CPR while they waited for the ambulance crew to arrive and likely declare him dead. But the dad of two defied all the odds, making a full recovery after a long healing process. For the latest TV & Showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter

Appearing on BBC2's Saving Lives at Sea on Tuesday evening, Mike said: "It amazes me how many people were involved in the rescue. All of them are responsible for saving my life, I’m extremely grateful for that."

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The show follows ordinary men and women across Britain who volunteer with the RNLI and risk their lives to save others. This week's episode was based at Porthcawl lifeboat station, which has been serving the area for the last 160 years.

Describing how Mike's rescue unfolded, crew member and trained nurse Angharad told viewers how as the team neared the estuary, a group of people could be seen gathered around a person lying on the sand. When they got closer and saw CPR being performed, the team knew it was critical.

"I wasn’t expecting any chance of survival," she said. "I thought we would carry on CPR until the ambulance came to declare he was no longer alive." Fellow RNLI team member Bee added: "He was blue, cold to touch with his eyes wide open..I thought we were too late and we had lost him then all of a sudden he took a breath."

Mike receiving medical attention
Mike had spent a long time in the water and was unconscious at the scene

Mike was rushed to Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend. Despite the crew's relief that he had taken a breath, Angharad said he was so unwell that they feared he wouldn't survive the ambulance trip.

After being placed into a coma, Mike spent 10 days in hospital and then took two months away from work. Remarkably, he has now made a full recovery.

Speaking on the show, he said: "I have no memory of being swept out to sea. The last thing I recall is going face first into the water. My only thought was: 'Well, that's it'. And then everything went black."

He said he had only waded out into water no deeper than eight inches, but quickly realised he was in trouble by the strength of the current. He described noticing how the water kept getting "deeper and deeper" and said he knew there was "nothing I could do about it".

The team feared the worst for Mike and were delighted to see him fully recovered

Bystander Ailsa had been near the Estuary with a friend. She saw Mike before he got into trouble and then realised he was in danger. She said she couldn't let someone die who she had just seen alive moments earlier. She told viewers how she and another bystander swam towards Mike with great difficulty and pulled him safely to shore, but added: "The man next to me said: 'He’s gone, he’s gone'."

Around four years after the incident which happened in October 2019, Mike spoke out and described how his family feared he wouldn't see Christmas. In December 2023 he said: "Coming to terms with how close I came to dying is something both myself and my family have taken time to process. I just felt we all needed to try and piece together what had happened that day and being at Porthcawl is part of us all healing and moving forward.

"Meeting the crew is truly humbling. To think these people are volunteers and put all their skills, training and knowledge into play that day is why I’m still here. Meeting complete strangers who really did save my life that day has made my Christmas. I honestly don’t think I’d have seen one more Christmas had it not been for them. I’ll be forever in their debt."

  • Saving Lives at Sea airs on BBC2 on Tuesdays at 8pm. You can catch up in BBC iPlayer.