February 2, 2005
Burnham hovercraft crew rescue stranded 4×4 vehicle from mud
Burnham-On-Sea’s hovercraft team has rescued a 4×4 vehicle stuck in thick mud near the town’s old lighthouse.
The Coastguard was initially called to the scene at Lark Spit, near the old lighthouse, on Wednesday February 1 but was unable to pull the Mitsubishi Shogun free.
So the hovercraft team’s tractor was rushed to the area and, using a combination of sand spades to anchor it and strong winch wire, the stranded vehicle was extracted.
Ray Leach (pictured), the owner of the 4×4, said he had unexpectedly got into difficulties soon after 4pm.
He said: “I was driving on what I thought was a sandbank but underneath the layer of thin top sand was deep mud.
“Within a matter of seconds the whole vehicle had sunk into a foot of deep, thick mud and was completely stuck. Fortunately, the tide was out at the time or I could have lost the vehicle altogether.”
He thanked the coastguard and hovercraft crew for coming to his rescue, adding: “I’m incredibly grateful to the BARB team for getting me out. I certainly won’t be driving along that stretch of beach again.”
Alan Miller, chairman of the BARB group which runs Burnham’s hovercraft, said: “We immediately offered our help to the coastguard after being alerted to the incident and our recovery tractor was quickly deployed to the scene where we were able to pull the vehicle out of danger and to the safety of the sand.
“When we arrived, the 4×4 was up to its axels in mud and stuck fast 30 yards from the top of the beach.”
He added: “This once again is a lesson about the dangers of the mud along this stretch of coastline.”
The Burnham hovercraft team is readying itself for another busy year of call-outs, having helped and rescued more than 50 people along the Bristol Channel in 2004 alone.