Sunny Sunday 22nd June started with several people reported to be in danger in the water, a beach emergency followed then quickly reports of several people stuck in the mud
This resulted in both lifeboat and hovercraft being in action for a large chunk of the day.
First call of the day was at noon from HM Coastguard with a report of two people being in the water north of the River Alt on the Sefton shoreline. Our hovercraft H-005 Hurley Spirit was launched and our lifeboat Atlantic 85 B-837 Charles Dibdin which was just launching on exercise was sent as well. While on its way to the River Alt area they were diverted back to New Brighton beach to assist a person who was reported to be unconscious. We attended the casualty until the arrival of paramedics and beach lifeguards and then returned to the River Alt shout. Meanwhile the hovercraft had arrived in the River Alt area.
Senior Commander Graham Lowe in charge of the hovercraft reported ‘ When we arrived in the area north of the River Alt we found two people fishing purposely up to their waists in water and not in any difficulty. We advised them if they intended to fish like this in the future to please contact HM Coastguard with details of when, where and how long as its very easy for well intentioned members of the public to misunderstand a situation and call for help. If Coastguard are already aware then emergency services are not called out unnecessarily. This advice goes to anyone wishing to do an activity on the sea or coast that could lead to
potential call outs’
The lifeboat had arrived on the scene and was standing by in case needed.
Both craft were stood down with the hovercraft returning to base for refuel, check over and wash down and the lifeboat went off to start the planned training exercise.
Just as the hovercraft was being put to bed a further request for assistance was received from HM Coastguard who reported that a person was stuck in mud on the Crosby shore. The hovercraft was launched and the lifeboat asked to go to the area and stand by in case they could help in any way. Fortunately the tide was almost at low water so no one was in immediate danger of drowning.
Graham Lowe described what happened next ‘ As we arrived on the Crosby shore we received a further report of three others stuck in the area. We found the person who was a female in the area about 500 metres north of Crosby baths and she was stuck in mud up to her thighs. We decided that as the mud was of a soft variety we wouldn’t need to use our mud lance so laid down mud mats, which enabled us to avoid sinking into the mud and used muscle power to extract her. This we duly did and took her to a waiting Coastguard team who were on solid sand. Then off to the next rescue where we found a male, female and child in soft mud but not actually stuck but they found themselves sinking with every step. They were on the waters edge out from Crosby baths. We took them to safety and the waiting Coastguard team. We cannot stress highly enough the need to check out and observe the warning signs on the beach at Crosby.’
Both lifeboat and hovercraft returned to base for refuelling, check over and wash down ready for the next shout.
New Brighton’s Lifeboat Operations Manager Graham Sale commented ‘It was quite a day keeping track of the multiple shouts especially following the previous nights rescue of two girls at New Brighton. I can but reinforce comments about the importance of observing local warning signs, although the beaches in the area often look benign they hide many dangers and its easy for people to get caught out. The tides come in quickly along channels and cut off areas of sand, combine that with mud and sand hazards and you have a deadly combination. Again please tell HM Coastguard of any plans you may have that could cause an alert and also to enhance your own safety.’