Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards, RNLI lifeboats, two BARB hovercrafts and a Coastguard helicopter were called out late on Saturday night following a 999 call reporting someone was drowning in the sea.
Crews rushed to Brean beach soon after 10pm amid concern for the welfare of a man in difficulty.
A Coastguard spokesman says: “Last night we were tasked after a 999 call to the Police control room from a woman who said she had entered the water to rescue her husband who was drowning near Brean Down before her phone cut out.”
“Police quickly contacted our Marine Rescue Control Centre (MRCC) in Milford Haven who, due to the extreme danger of potentially two people being in the water, tasked lifeboats and the Coastguard Rescue 187 Helicopter.”
“Our team and our Coastguard family from Weston-Super-Mare Coastguard were tasked and on arrival quickly checked the initial area for any signs of persons either in the water, on the shore or nearby looking wet and distressed.”
“While this was going on, lifeboats from the RNLI and the Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 187 were being given search patterns created by the team in the MRCC.”
“They calculate the tides, most likely drift direction if persons were in the water and then set a search programme for each water and air unit to follow.”
“This means the radio is very busy so as the land assets and the on scene incident commanders our role is varied. We split the teams we had into groups, one searched the top of Brean Down in case anyone was there.”
“A foot team did a hasty shoreline search looking for footprints and any physical evidence of people in the area.”
“The fresh tide leaves a blank canvas as it recedes and the time of the call would mean they were below the high water mark.”
“The second vehicle did a slow and steady sweep of the beach with full lights and torches and after liaising with the Avon and Somerset Police they said a phone ping had established the last known position further south around the South Road car park area.”
“We relocated to that area so our Officer In Charge could keep close contact with the police and while doing so requested that the BARB Search & Rescue hovercraft were tasked to commence a search of the newly exposed beach and mud flats.”
“As the searches continued into the night, with the water and air assets stepping outwards into deeper water and busily carrying out the search patterns given by the Coastguard control room in Milford Haven.”
“We continued our searches and gathered more information from the police. Our Coastguard teams expanded the search to Burnham and one of the BARB Hovercraft were diverted to cover that section also.”
“With the possible drift area covered and exceeded by all units and with nothing found and no more information or persons reported missing the search was eventually called off by our control room and all units were stood down and returned to their respective stations at 2am.”
”If anyone knows the persons involved or spotted a couple in the area looking wet and distressed then please do contact us.
Or if it was you then please come forward.
“A second large scale search in two days this one including more assets due to the nature of the call. We hope that the people concerned were able to get out of the water and have returned home safely.”
“All Coastguard teams, Police and other assets worked tirelessly to maximise the chance of being found if they were in the water and worked in complete tandem with each other. A fine example of multiple agency’s and Rescue teams working together and our Officer In Charge extends thanks to each and every one of the people who attend.”
If you have an emergency at the coast dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Pictured: Burnham Coastguards, Burnham RNLI and BARB Search & Rescue.