Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards, RNLI lifeboats and BARB hovercrafts were called to Brean beach on Wednesday (July 29th) after a woman was reported to be stuck in the mud with the tide starting to cover her.
Crews were called out at 11.43am amid concern for the lady due to the fast incoming tide.
A Burnham Coastguard spokesman said: “As you can imagine, this was a hugely time critical incident and all assets available were called to avert a loss of life.”
“Our Coastguard Operations Centre tasked multiple assets including our flank Coastguard Rescue Team from Weston and lifeboats and hovercraft from Burnham.”
“Our team was first on scene and as we entered the beach we could see directly in front of us the head and shoulders of the woman sticking up above the water as the constant waves made it challenging to keep her face out of the water.”
“As the truck came to a halt, our team immediately sprang into action and in record time five of our team members were ready in immediate ‘snatch rescue’ equipment of overalls, boots, safety hat and personal flotation devices.”
“Two of our team were attached to floating lines which were tended by the others. The first two entered the water and quickly realised that the woman was indeed stuck in waist-deep mud.”
“Working calmly and fast, they managed to get one leg out but the second was proving to be a challenge.”
“With the rising water and the waves making the rescue more difficult, the two worked together to hold her up above the water until they managed to free the second leg.”
“Once this was done, the combined efforts of the five team members meant she was back to shore where she was wrapped in blankets.”
“She was then given a quick medical assessment before being helped back up the beach to await the Ambulance who we then passed her over to for further assessment.”
“This was an incredibly time-critical incident with a real danger to life. The quick actions of all the Coastguard team members meant that she was saved with just a few minutes to spare.”
“This shows how important it is to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguards immediately. Every second truly does count and it could save a life.”
“This kind of incident where a life is in imminent danger prompts a large response of assets as each one has its own skill that may be required. It is far better to have them on-scene if needed than not and we are thankful that Burnham has such a rich pool of resources to call upon. Thanks to everyone involved.”
Nathan Meager, helmsman of the RNLI D-Class lifeboat Burnham Reach, added: “The D-Class having a lower draft is able to access shallower water. On arrival, the obviously tired casualty had been seated up to her neck in water. I detailed two crew to assist if required, but Coastguard team members managed to lift her from the mud and assisted her out of the water and back to the beach.”
A BARB Search & Rescue spokesman added: “Our hovercraft was quickly on scene to provide further support to the Coastguards if required. This was a great example of multi-agency team working in a time-critical situation with a very positive outcome. We wish the lady a speedy recovery.”