September 29, 2015
Burnham-On-Sea lifeboats launched to help disorientated beach walker

Both Burnham-On-Sea's lifeboats were launched last night (Monday) amid concern for a beach walker who had become disorientated in the darkness at high tide.

The 41-year-old man was walking his dog along the beach towards Burnham’s lower light from Berrow when the incoming high tide caused him to lose his bearings.

He rang his wife to tell her that he wasn’t certain of his whereabouts and she dialled 999 to speak to the Coastguard.

Burnham-On-Sea Coastguard team were called, BARB Search & Rescue's crew were put on standby, and the two Burnham RNLI lifeboats were launched.

The RNLI crew members liaised with local coastguards in a search of Berrow beach in an attempt to locate the man, who was in contact with the Coastguard on his mobile phone. At one point the crew of Puffin, the Burnham D class lifeboat, set off a parachute flare to help locate the man.

As the water started to recede with the dropping tide, the man regained his bearings and was met by a lifeboat crewmember. The Coastguard officers debriefed him and took him back to where he had parked his car.

Helmsman Ashley Chappel said: "We located the man approximately one mile north of Burnham’s lower lighthouse. He was surprised that we were searching for him, but we explained that we were there to assist, and I waited with him until the arrival of the Coastguard."

Lifeboats spokesman Mike Lang added: "The man could have been at risk, and if worried, our advice is always to dial 999 for the Coastguard. A seemingly harmless situation could escalate, and we would rather launch needlessly than have loss of life because someone did not call. However, it is advisable to check the tide times when beach walking."

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