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August 19/20, 2004
Burnham-On-Sea Hovercraft Rescues Father and Son

BARB's hovercraft returns to shore after a successful launchBurnham-On-Sea's hovercraft helped avert tragedy near Brean Down on Thursday August 19th when a father (pictured below) and his son were plucked out of the dangerous mud near the low water line.

The Spirit of Lelaina hovercraft
was called out by Swansea Coastguard at 14:44 after Brean Down's Beach Warden raised the alarm.

Mark Caddick (30) and his son Matthew (8) from Walsall, near Birmingham, were spotted knee-deep in mud about three quarters of a mile from Brean Down.

Mark Caddick and his son were rescued by the hovercraftThe hovercraft was launched from Burnham-On-Sea jetty and flew to the forward control point at Brean beach where the Coastguard Mud Rescue Team were waiting.

The Mud Rescue Team were taken onboard the hovercraft to the rescue scene where they were dropped within a safe distance of the pair.

The father and son were extracted from the mud and taken back to the safety of the beach where paramedics checked over them and deemed they were well.

The pair had ignored warnings about the dangerous mud and walked out to the sea's edge with a dinghy, but after half a mile began sinking into the thick mud.

Burnham-On-Sea RNLI's lifeboat was also launched and stood by during the incident, before taking members of the Mud Rescue Team back to Burnham.

Alan Miller, BARB hovercraft chairman, who was interviewed about the rescue by several radio stations, newspapers and TV channels including the BBC and ITV West (pictured), said: "The tide was beginning to come in quickly so if the alarm had been raised 20 minutes later it would have been a lot more serious. The two people were completely unaware of the danger they were in."

A Swansea Coastguard spokeswoman praised the BARB hovercraft team, adding: "The hovercraft team did a superb job in conveying members of the Mud Rescue Team to the scene and taking the casulaties to safety."

The Spirit of Lelaina hovercraft is named in memory of five year-old Lelaina Hall who tragically died in the mud on Berrow Sands two years ago.

Update: The father and son were rescued for the second time in 24 hours - this time by the Weston-Super-Mare RNLI Lifeboat. On Friday August 20th at 14:00, they were saved after drifting out to sea in an inflatable dinghy near Weston bay. Helen Hutson, coastguard watch manager said: "It is regrettable that they have not taken on board our safety advice." She added: "We are somewhat surprised that having lost one dinghy in a very dangerous situation, the man acquired another and set out to sea."

The story hit the national headlines and brought huge publicity for BARB.

Also see the Official BARB Web site home page




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