Burnham-On-Sea’s Coastguards had one of their busiest days of the year so far on Thursday (July 26th) with five call-outs to the incidents on local beaches – including the rescue of a family cut-off by the tide on Brean Down.

The continuing heatwave and summer holidays combined to make beaches busy across our area, prompting a number of incidents.

Thursday’s beach incidents involving Burnham-On-Sea crews:

  • A family of six people was rescued at Brean Down at 6pm on Thursday evening (July 26th) after they became stuck on rocks by the incoming tide. Weston RNLI and Burnham Coastguards oversaw a successful rescue operation.
  • BARB Search & Rescue’s hovercraft crews worked with Burnham and Weston Coastguards to fly two people in difficulty in deep mud on Weston beach to the safety of the beach and then perform safety sweeps of the tideline to give safety advice to mud walkers.
  • RNLI lifeguards from Berrow assisted the Brean beach warden in helping a lady who had suffered a injury while paddling in the sea.
  • A ‘distressed’ person needed assistance in the mud on Weston beach and was successfully helped to safety by the fire service, Coastguards and the ambulance service.
  • Burnham and Weston Coastguards were called to Sand Bay after a PCSO reported that several persons were possibly in difficulty off the end of Sand Point. A full search was carried out and no-one was found in difficulty – it was a false alarm with good intent.

Six people rescued from rocks at Brean Down:

“The Bristol family had ventured around the base of Brean Down while the tide was out, not realising the tide was at its turning point and the speed it rushes in,” said a Burnham Coastguards spokesman.

“With the water travelling at quite a speed, it is difficult to beat it especially when you are making your way over uneven ground. There are a couple of points around the Down where the water comes in quicker and it cuts you off and leaves you stranded a frustratingly short distance from the safe beach.”

“As they were a family of varying ages they had no choice but to stay put and await help. The beach warden asked for the Coastguard team to be paged.”

“The Weston Lifeboats made quick work of extracting the family in two shifts. The youngest and the dad first and returned them to the beach where they were met by Burnham Coastguard team members in lifejackets, who escorted them to safety and ensured they were not in need of any medical treatment. The second half of the group followed quickly and the relieved and thankful family were all accounted for and headed off home, slightly shaken by their ordeal.”

Burnham hovercraft helps to rescue mud walkers:

A Burnham Coastguard spokesman added: “We were tasked to assist Weston Coastguard with a person stuck up to his knees in mud just along from the Grand Pier.”

“As we arrived on scene, the Weston team had kitted up 2x mud technicians in full mud rescue equipment and they were making their way out to the stuck person.”

“The mud just north of the Grand Pier is very patchy and can be hard one step then sinking the next. The Weston mud team were finding a combination of the heat, being in sealed dry suits and pulling heavy stretchers through the sticky mud a punishing experience, but with the training we do week in and week out they were well equipped both physically and mentally to push on and make good time to the person.”

“Once they had freed the person they laid him on one of the stretchers and the mud operations team who had set up a double stake holdfast attached the petrol driven winch and using the rope that the mud team were trailing winched the man and the team members back to the hard standing.”

“He was then assessed for any medical needs and sent on his way with some sound safety advice. While all this was happening the tide had started to turn, people had been walking out in their numbers to reach the water in search of a cooling paddle.”

“BARB’s hovercrafts were requested and once on scene they were deployed with Coastguard mud techs from Weston and Burnham teams to sweep the bay and send people back to the hard sand of the beach.”

“Please remember your beach basics – if the tide is out, don’t try and reach it, if the ground below you becomes soft and hard to walk in, turn back and head to the safe area of the beach.”

“If you do become stuck, stay calm, spread your weight by sitting, call for help but discourage others from trying to reach you in case they become stuck. If you have a phone dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

Pictured: Top, the rescue of the Bristol family of six at Brean Down underway and, above, the incident at Weston involving Burnham’s hovercraft (photos Burnham-On-Sea.com and Coastguard)

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