Minehead RNLI issue warning after 12 year old boy is trapped under cliffs
Minehead RNLI have warned holidaymakers about the risks of being trapped by the tide after the station’s volunteer crew rescued a 12-year old boy on Bank Holiday Monday (26 August).
The boy was walking along the foot of 800-foot sea cliffs west of the station when he became separated from the other members of his family.
Despite poor mobile phone reception in the area his mother managed to raise the alarm and a search was started. Minehead’s volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 lifeboat and within minutes managed to locate the boy, marooned on rocks in a small cove about a mile and a half west of the station.
Crew member Matt Legg swam ashore, fitted the boy with a lifejacket and swam him back out to the lifeboat. The lifeboat returned to Minehead and the boy was reunited with his family.
Minehead RNLI operations manager Dr John Higgie said the family has chosen one of the most inaccessible stretches of the coastline for their walk.
'As the tide comes in, there are only rocks and boulders all the way along, in places the sea comes in right up to the base of the cliffs; and there are very few locations along the whole three-mile length where it is possible to climb up to safety.' he said.
'A lifeboat was the only option this boy had of getting out of his predicament.
'Nearly every year we rescue people who try to walk along there without being aware of how high and how quickly the tide comes in and then suddenly find themselves trapped.
'Two years ago we organised our own poster campaign to make people aware of how the Bristol Channel’s huge tidal range can catch them out. We'd urge anyone contemplating a walk beneath the cliffs to check the tide times before they set out so they know they will be able to either complete the journey or get back safely if they have to retreat.'
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.