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December 1, 2004
Coastguard and hovercraft teams in search and rescue exercise

A Burnham coastguard calls for more help during the exerciseFOURTEEN members of Burnham-On-Sea's coastguard and hovercraft teams joined forces to carry out a night-time search and rescue exercise along the banks of the River Parrett on Wednesday December 1st.

The torch-lit search for four casualties was carried out along a two-mile strip of coast between Burnham Yacht Club and Apex Leisure Park following an imaginary micro light crash next to the Apex lakes and a separate accident along the tow path next to the river.

Rescuers stayed in constant radio contact with Coastguard officers in their seafront headquarters, where an incident room was set up to monitor the accidents and pass on information from the public.

A coastguard member assists one of the casualtiesOnce the casualties had been located, first aid treatment was provided and full reports on their condition were fed back to the HQ.

Burnham-On-Sea Coastguard team leader, Robin Hewlett, said: "This was a good test of several rescue skills - radio communication, first aid, and night-time search and rescue expertise. It went very well and has given us all a good understanding of how things would unfold - and how we would tackle it - if such a similar incident really happened."

Neil Mynett, Burnham-On-Sea Coastguard station officer, added: "The exercise showed how Burnham's rescue services can operate as a single team. In cases like this, it is so important that we work closely together as one rescue group."

Wednesday's two-hour exercise was the first in a series of joint training exercises involving the Coastguard, Hovercraft and RNLI planned for coming months.

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