trapped on Berrow mudflats is rescued by hovercraft and Coastguards
hovercraft was at the centre of a major mud rescue operation at
Berrow during the early hours of Monday October 17th.
33-year-old man from Brean had become stuck in waist-deep mud
half a mile from the shoreline at Berrow prompting a night-time
rescue involving the Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft, two Burnham
lifeboats, the Coastguard Mud Rescue Team, paramedics and a police
Coastguard received a call from the police at 12:50am reporting
that a man missing from a Brean caravan park had been seen walking
out into the mud on Berrow Beach in a distressed state.
Coastguard called on the hovercraft to be taken to Berrow and,
soon after 1.25am, it was launched from the beach with a crew
of four onboard, including two members of the Burnham Coastguard
Mud Rescue Team.
on the hovercraft and a spotlight onboard the helicopter were
used to light up the scene and help the rescuers locate the stranded
on scene, the Mud Rescue Team waded through the mud to pull the
casualty free and move him onto the hovercraft.
pilot Pete Charles said: The casualty was stuck up to his
waist in complete darkness and clearly needed help. Fortunately,
the searchlights on the hovercraft and the police helicopter lit
up the whole scene very well and made my task of manoeuvring the
craft alongside the man easy.
casualty, who was cold and shaken but otherwise unharmed, was
taken back to the safety of the beach at approximately 1.45am
and treated by paramedics on the scene before being taken by ambulance
to Weston General Hospital.
Miller, chairman of BARB, the charity that runs the hovercraft,
said: Working closely with the Coastguard, Police, paramedics
and RNLI, this was another successful rescue on what was only
our second night-time call-out. There was a rapid response from
all the crews and the whole operation ran smoothly.
Hewlett, Burnham Coastguard Officer in charge, praised the hovercraft
team and said the craft had once again proved invaluable.
Burnham hovercraft is named after five year-old Lelaina Hall,
who tragically lost her life in the mud at Berrow in 2002
just a few hundred metres from the scene of todays incident.
Western Daily Press launched a successful fundraising campaign
soon after the tragedy when its readers donated £115,000
to buy the fully-equipped hovercraft.
its first 18 months of operation, the hovercraft has helped and
rescued more than 80 people along the Somerset coastline.
launched in search for Berrow man
Burnham Hovercraft Web site home page