Burnham-On-Sea's home on the Web

Burnham Hovercraft Home Page > Burnham Hovercraft News Archive

October 17, 2005
Man trapped on Berrow mudflats is rescued by hovercraft and Coastguards

The relieved casualty being helped out of the hovercraft after being rescued from the mud early on Monday October 17th.

Burnham-On-Sea's hovercraft was at the centre of a major mud rescue operation at Berrow during the early hours of Monday October 17th.

The crew prepare to launch in the hovercraftA 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 helicopter.

Swansea 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.

The 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.

The hovercraft's searchlights were switched on to aid in the rescueSearchlights on the hovercraft and a spotlight onboard the helicopter were used to light up the scene and help the rescuers locate the stranded man.

Once on scene, the Mud Rescue Team waded through the mud to pull the casualty free and move him onto the hovercraft.

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.”

Coastguard Mud Rescue Team members Stuart Browning and Dave Welland, who freed the man from the mud.The 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.

Alan 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.”

The Coastguard Mud Rescue Team prepare to load a stretcher onto the side of the hovercraftRobin Hewlett, Burnham Coastguard Officer in charge, praised the hovercraft team and said the craft had once again proved “invaluable”.

The 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 today’s incident.

The Western Daily Press launched a successful fundraising campaign soon after the tragedy when its readers donated £115,000 to buy the fully-equipped hovercraft.

During its first 18 months of operation, the hovercraft has helped and rescued more than 80 people along the Somerset coastline.


Lifeboats launched in search for Berrow man

Official Burnham Hovercraft Web site home page



This week's weather forecast
News for Burnham-On-Sea
Photo gallery
Tide times for Burnham

Events diary
Burnham-On-Sea library
Council & utilities
Housing associations
Doctors and dentists
Burnham Groups & Clubs
Schools in Burnham
Mother & toddler groups
Churches in Burnham
Refuse disposal points
Advice services in Burnham
More Burnham Web sites
Contact Burnham's MP
Local TV listings today

Visiting Burnham
Guide books on Burnham
Hotels and B&Bs
Places to visit in the area

Maps for Burnham-On-Sea
Rail travel to Burnham
Visit Burnham by coach
Buses & public transport