Published: June 26, 2010
Nine rescued from mudflats by hovercrafts and Coastguards

Nine people were rescued from the beach mudflats next to Brean Down by Burnham-On-Sea's hovercrafts and Coastguards on Saturday (June 26th).

A walker on Brean Down raised the alarm at 2pm after spotting several groups of people struggling in waist-deep mud one mile from the shore while attempting to reach the sea at low tide.

Two hovercrafts from Burnham-based rescue charity BARB were called to Uphill, on the banks of the River Axe, along with a team of six Coastguards.

The Light Of Elizabeth hovercraft was flown out onto the mudflats, where a group of men from Cardiff (pictured right) were taken onboard and brought back to the safety of the beach.

Two women, aged 25 and 22 from Bristol, were also rescued a few minutes later - followed by a further two men, both aged 21, from Gloucestershire.

"All had been struggling the mud around the River Axe estuary while trying to reach the sea," Burnham Coastguard Station Officer Steve Bird told

"Given that the tide was coming in quickly and the nine people were in difficulty a mile out from the beach, this was a serious situation. The hovercrafts proved essential in quickly reaching the casualties."

One of those rescued, from Bristol, said: "Walking out to reach the sea seemed a good idea at the time, but the mud got very deep as we approached the water. We got stuck waist-deep - seeing the hovercraft coming to help us was a wonderful moment. We are so grateful to everyone."

BARB Chairman Mark Newman added: "BARB has never rescued so many people during one afternoon in the charity's 19-year history. Our volunteer crews were relieved to be able to rescue all nine people safely."

"The sea does look tempting during hot weather, but ignoring the warning signs and wading across the mudflats to reach the water puts lives at risk."


Official BARB Web site
Official Burnham-On-Sea Coastguard website


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