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Hunstanton RNLI hovercraft crew rescues three people cut off by the tide

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of Hunstanton RNLI lifeboat station rescued three people who had been cut off by the tide on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday 28 May at 5.10pm the UK Coastguard requested the launch of Hunstanton's Inshore Rescue Hovercraft (IRH) after a report that people were in difficulty after being cut off by the tide on the banks at Heacham Beach.

The volunteer crew launched the hovercraft and proceeded to the area, arriving to find three people. They picked them up and took them back to the beach into the care of the local Coastguard Rescue Team.

After chatting to the casualties and highlighting the risks of going out on to the banks and fast changing tides, the crew were informed that other people were thought to be in trouble down towards Snettisham, and were requested to carry out a search of that area.

The crew informed the UK Coastguard that all people were now safely on the beach and they returned to the lifeboat station.

Robin Rafferty, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Hunstanton RNLI, said: 'We would advise people to be very careful and know the risks if they venture out onto the flats or banks at Hunstanton, Heacham or Snettisham. However tempting, tides in the area go out over a mile on big ebb tides, and when the tide turns the currents can be very strong.

'Although tides are predictable, weather conditions can change very quickly and catch people out. We would advise people to respect the water and stay safe.

RNLI media contacts

  • Geoff Needham, Lifeboat Press Officer, Hunstanton RNLI, 01485 525409 (home), 07932 026265 (mobile)
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland