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Weston RNLI volunteers launch to sixth call this year to Birnbeck Island

Lifeboats News Release

On Thursday 5 April the volunteer lifeboat crew at Weston-super-Mare launched to help two people who became stranded on Birnbeck Island.

Too often those who cross to the island at low water find the tide comes in with great speed and cuts them off.

Many times the ferocious and dramatic tides of the Bristol Channel have put lives in danger. Indeed last year two people who got cut off and were clinging to the Pier Legs had only minutes to live before the lifeboat saved them. In the past a fisherman died because he did not anticipate the strength of the tide. His body was never found.

It has become normal practice that whenever anyone is seen crossing to the island the RNLI volunteers are summoned and have to go and bring the visitors back safely.

This happened again on Thursday when a couple were seen walking over to the island. It turned out that when they saw that the tide had cut them off, they did the sensible thing and waited to be rescued. This is the RNLI’s advice to anyone who is at risk there.

The D Class lifeboat Anna Stock was launched from its low water launch site and went round to the island where they saw the couple. A lifeboat crew member went to escort them into the lifeboat where they had survivor lifejackets fitted and were brought back to the lifeboat station.

Liam McDermott, RNLI Helm said: ‘We have launched to Birnbeck Island six times this year. Thankfully on Thursday the alarm was raised and we were able to bring this couple to safety.'

RNLI notes to editors

The picture show the couple on the Island walking towards the lifeboat. A video is available at

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For further information, please contact Weston-super-Mare RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Glyn Hayes on 01934 645555 or 07774 181418

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RNLI/Glyn Hayes

The two casualties on the Island

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 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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