skier rescued from mud by Burnham-On-Sea hovercraft crew
jet skiers are shown struggling to retrieve their jet ski trailer
at Berrow this week, just minutes after a third man had been rescued
by Burnham-On-Sea's hovercraft crew when he got into difficulties
in the thick mud.
The hovercraft crew were trialling a second smaller hovercraft
on Berrow Beach on Saturday September 10 when the incident unfolded
three quarters of a mile from the shoreline and just a few hundred
metres from where five year-old Lelaina Hall tragically lost her
life in 2002.
The Beach Warden raised the alarm after spotting three men struggling
to pull their jet ski across the mud after their machine had run
aground on the falling tide. They were trying to load the machine
onto a trailer when one of the three began to sink in the mud.
Within a matter of seconds, the hovercraft crew flew to the scene
and managed to pull David Rowe out of the mud and back to the
safety of the shore.
David, who is believed to be in his early 30s and from Bristol,
was taken onboard the trial hovercraft and then released without
pilot Pete Emery said: "Every time he tried to move forward,
he sank deeper into the mud.
was starting to tire quickly and was already stuck to the tops
of his thighs. We all know what can happen here, and we felt it
would be much safer to get him back to the safety of the beach."
The hovercraft crew then stood closely by as the other two men
managed to pull their trailer and jet ski to the shore using tow
Mark Newman, press officer for BARB, the group that runs the hovercraft,
said: "It's fortunate we were already on the scene carrying
out training and were able to quickly switch our attention from
the exercise to this real rescue."
again, a hovercraft was the only emergency vehicle able to reach
the casualty given that the tide was out and thick mud was all
The second hovercraft is being tested to act as a back-up to The
Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft; enable two rescues to be performed
along the coastline at the same time; and allow the team to perform
in-shore rescues along rivers and lakes across the region.
BARB has not yet decided which hovercraft is best suited for the
new service, but this weekend tried out one such machine from
Bill Baker, the Banbury-based maker of the existing Burnham hovercraft.
hovercraft designer for over 35 years, he demonstrated the smaller
BBV3 craft, which was involved in Saturday's incident.
The latest rescue takes the overall tally of people rescued and
helped along the Somerset coastline during the hovercraft group's
first 18 months to 80.
Burnham's hovercraft is named after five year-old Lelaina Hall,
who tragically lost her life in the mud at Berrow in 2002. Readers
of the Western Daily Press donated £115,000 to buy
the fully-equipped hovercraft.
of the jet skiers struggling in the mud at Brean
Burnham Hovercraft Web site home page