and Mud Rescue Teams rescue three trapped on Stert Island
people who were stuck in mud at Stert Island, near Burnham-On-Sea,
were helped to safety by the town's rescue hovercraft on Friday
Spirit of Lelaina was called out by Coastguards at 10:54am and
launched shortly afterwards when three people - a 46 year-old,
26 year-old and 20 year-old from Bristol - ran aground in a 16ft
speedboat on a mud bank (circled in the photo on the right).
They alerted emergency services by calling 999 and, after assessing
the situation, the hovercraft flew to the scene with a crew of
two - Alan Miller and Peter Charles - plus two members of the
Coastguard's Mud Rescue Team - Neil Mynett and Nigel Smith.
Burnham Coastguard Officer Steve Bird said: "One of the men
had already tried scrambling across the mud to the shore on Stert
Island and had sunk waist-deep into the mud. He'd fortunately
managed to get back onto the boat but there was a concern that
the three might try again."
Neil Mynett, who was onboard the hovercraft as part of the Mud
Rescue Team, added: "The hovercraft landed us within 10 metres
of the speedboat, allowing us to safely get onto the stranded
then managed to pull each of the casualties over the mud in basket
stretchers to the waiting hovercraft. All three casualties were
then flown back to Burnham's jetty where they were checked over
and released without injury."
Alan Miller, Chairman of BARB, the charity that runs the hovercraft,
said: "There was no other means of rescue available on this
occasion because the casualties were stuck on a boat in deep 4ft
mud with no water around them. No lifeboat could have reached
them - so the Spirit Of Lelaina has once again proved its value."
in the afternoon, the stricken speedboat was returned to shore
by Burnham-On-Sea's RNLI
at around 4.30pm.
the craft was afloat on the incoming tide, the lifeboat crew escorted
the owner and his craft to the safety of Burnham beach (pictured
The Burnham hovercraft is named after five year-old Lelaina Hall,
who tragically lost her life in the mud at Berrow in 2002.
Western Daily Press launched a successful fundraising campaign
when its readers donated £115,000 to buy the fully-equipped
hovercraft. During its first 18 months of operation, it has helped
and rescued more than 75 people along the Somerset coastline.
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