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January 2, 2006
Dog walker rescued after getting trapped in waist-deep mud at Brean

Burnham-On-Sea's Coastguard and hovercraft rescue teams saved a man trapped waist-deep in treacherous mud at Brean on Bank Holiday Monday January 2nd.

The Burnham Coastguard Mud Rescue Team lift a stretcher off the side of the hovercraft during a mud rescueIn the first rescue of the new year, Ian Makepeace, from Evesham, had to be dug out of the mud after trying to retrieve one of his pet dogs when it ran off during an afternoon walk.

Mr Makepeace followed the dog out onto the mudflats 100 metres from the high tide point when he suddenly sank waist-deep and was unable to move. His wife, Sue, who herself briefly encountered difficulties in the mud, freed herself and dialled 999 on a mobile phone to call for help.

The Coastguard Mud Rescue team from Burnham-On-Sea was alerted and, using specialised rescue equipment, they waded out to free the man and his pet.

"The casualty was stuck deep in the mud and it took almost 15 minutes to dig him out," said Burnham Coastguard station officer Steve Bird. "He was firmly trapped and needed our help."

Burnham's Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft flew to the scene with two pilots onboard and both the man and his dog were lifted onboard before being taken back to the safety of the dry sand.

Mr Makepeace, who was very cold and fatigued, was checked over by a paramedic at the scene, before he and the dog were released unharmed.

Mr Makepeace and his wife had been walking a group of around a dozen dogs along the beach when the incident unfolded.

"With a fast incoming tide, we didn't have a great deal of time to rescue him," said Alan Miller, chairman of BARB, the group that runs the hovercraft.

Burnham hovercraftHe added: "Mr Makepeace was very apologetic and said he was grateful for our assistance."

Coastguard officer Mr Bird said it had been "a text-book rescue which again demonstrated how closely Burnham’s Coastguard and hovercraft teams work together."

The Burnham hovercraft is named after five year-old Lelaina Hall, who tragically lost her life in the mud at nearby Berrow in 2002 – just two miles 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 helped and rescued more than 80 people along the Somerset coastline.


Rescued dog walker praises hovercraft rescue crew

Official BARB Web site home page


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