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hovercraft crew thanked for saving family's two dogs
family whose two dogs were saved by Burnham's Spirit Of Lelaina
hovercraft returned to the town this week - one year on from the
rescue - to thank crewmembers and hand over a cheque towards the
upkeep of the craft.
and Carol Thomas from Hanham, near Bristol, had almost given up
Muttley and Rosie as lost when the dogs became stranded on Brean
mudflats on Saturday July 24 last year.
Every approach from the shore simply scared the tiny West Highland
white terriers further away and towards the rising tide.
The terrified animals could not be coaxed back to dry land despite
the efforts of Coastguards and Mrs Thomas, who waded out until
the mud was around her waistline.
"The beach warden told me to come back because it was so
dangerous. It was so distressing to watch. I was in tears,"
a last ditch effort, the Burnham hovercraft was called to the
scene, about one mile out into the mud at Brean, and skimmed across
the mud with the Coastguard Mud Rescue Team onboard.
They managed to coax the dogs back on to the beach and into the
relieved arms of the waiting family - Glyn, Carol and their 10-year-old
"We thought we were just going to find two bodies the following
morning," said Mrs Thomas. "But the dogs were fine -
just a bit dirty and in need of a big bath."
family visited Burnham's hovercraft station this week and handed
over a cheque for £200 towards maintenance of the craft.
Glyn said at this week's presentation: "Dog owners everywhere
will know how pets are irreplaceable, much like children.
"That day will therefore always stick in our minds. I am
convinced that without this incredible hovercraft here in Burnham
we would have suffered a family tragedy.
"We're therefore incredibly grateful to everyone who is involved
with the hovercraft and will support it in every way we can. This
cheque is a token of the gratitude."
Hovercraft pilot Pete Emery and Alan Miller, chairman of BARB,
thanked the family for their generous donation.
Alan added: "If we don't go to the aid of animals, there's
often a risk that someone will enter the water to try carrying
out the rescue themselves. This can quickly turn into a tragedy.
"Providing that we're not jeopardising the rescue of a human
elsewhere, we'll always help. We're here to provide a rescue service."
Burnham Hovercraft Web site