August 6, 2016
BARB hovercraft crews kept busy during series of mudflats rescues

Burnham-On-Sea's rescue hovercraft rescued a child stuck in mud at Brean and flew six people to safety on Weston beach after receiving multiple call-outs on Saturday afternoon (August 6th).

One of BARB Search & Rescue's hovercrafts was initially launched at 3pm after a beachwarden raised the alarm when a ten year-old boy became stranded in deep mud while trying to reach the sea at low tide.

Beachwarden Amanda Furber kept the boy calm from a safe distance until the hovercraft arrived a short time later. It took two Weston Coastguard officers out to the boy, who was freed and flown back to the safety of the beach, unharmed.

The boy's family are on holiday from Faringdon in Oxfordshire and mum Jemma Curtis, pictured right, said: "My son Callum was walking out across the beach with several of the family when he got stuck - it was a shock when I realised he was in difficulty. We are hugely grateful to BARB and the Coastguards for rescuing him."

BARB Operations Manager Mike Lowe said: "This was a text-book rescue and the main reason that BARB's hovercrafts are here. It was a good multi-agency incident with a very quick response from our dedicated volunteers."

Just minutes after returning to Burnham, at 4.30pm, BARB's volunteers were called out for a second time - this time to Weston to help Weston and Clevedon Coastguards investigate another person in difficulty in the mud.

BARB's hovercraft was taken by road to Weston and launched at Uphill beach where it flew out to bring the person back to the beach.

It also assisted six people by flying them back from the mudflats as they waded out and tried to reach the incoming tide.

Weston Coastguard Officer Chris Perks said: "It was a busy afternoon, we were on patrol when we were tasked to help someone who had become exhausted while walking out along the tideline. We called out BARB and their hovercraft was quickly on scene to bring back the casualty. We also tasked the fire service's Firefly hovercraft to assist by reaching multiple people in the mud."

He added: "Six people were taken onboard the hovercrafts and assisted back to the shore, including two young children, who were reunited with their parents. Our thanks go to the BARB volunteers for all their work."

The busy afternoon was not over, though, for just as the BARB crews returned to Burnham they were paged for a third time, at 6.40pm, after the jetty supervisor raised the alarm about two people seen wading in the mud near the Yacht Club. BARB's crewmembers investigated with Coastguards and spoke to several beach walkers and fishermen. Fortunately, the two people had managed to walk out of the mud.

The work of Burnham's rescue charities will be on display during Sunday's rescue services day in Burnham - more details here.

One of the relieved relatives running to a man who was rescued from the mud


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