Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset


January 15, 2005
Burnham Coastguard team rehearses helicopter mud rescue

The RAF rescue helicopter with Brean Down in the backgroundBurnham-On-Sea's Coastguard team have rehearsed a dramatic mud rescue by using an RAF helicopter to lift 'casualties' from a treacherous area near the River Axe at Uphill, near Brean Down.

An RAF 169 helicopter from Chivenor was used by the Burnham-On-Sea Coastguard and Weston-super-Mare RNLI in the three-hour exercise to simulate the rescue of a stranded person a quarter of a mile out from the shore.

The RAF rescue helicopter lifts Burnham Coastguard members from the beachA Burnham-On-Sea Coastguard spokesman said: "We rehearsed a full mud rescue with the aid of the helicopter, which was used to airlift members of the Coastguard and RNLI out to help the 'casualty' in the mud."

He added: "The casulty was safely taken back to the dry shoreline. It's a very quick and simple rescue process, but one that needs to be properly rehearsed from time to time."

The exercise attracted plenty of curious onlookers along the Uphill beach-front after word spread that the exercise was underway.

The muddy shoreline between Brean Down and Uphill has been the scene of many rescues in recent years when tourists have believed they can wade across the River Axe to the other shoreline - but the treacherous mud and fast-flowing water make this incredibly dangerous with several drownings having happened in the past. Crossing the river should therefore never be attempted.

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