RNLI New Brighton lifeboat crew rescues two men caught in Crosby mud

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI volunteers were tasked by UK Coastguard to two men trapped in mud at Crosby beach at 5.15pm on 16 February 2019. The pair were caught out during a flooding tide and were rescued by the RNLI volunteers before being assessed in hospital.

RNLI lifeboat crew were called out to two men who had been taking pictures of the sunset at Crosby beach when they found themselves stuck and unable to get out unaided. During fast-flooding water at around three hours before high tide, the pair – along with their camera equipment and tripods – had quickly become waist deep in mud and surrounded by rising water.

With the tide not deep enough for RNLI inshore lifeboat Noma Ethel Vinall to reach the casualties and the scene lit up by the Coastguard Rescue helicopter overhead, volunteer RNLI New Brighton Lifeboat Helm Jay Hennessey entered the water.

‘The plan was to assess the two casualties before deciding the best course of action for getting them out,’ he said. ‘But once with them I realised how much of a precarious situation they were in, so got down on my knees to spread myself further and start digging them out. The mud was quite soft so it hadn’t fully taken hold and once freed a little both men were able to move.

'As we headed towards our lifeboat, we had to move as quickly and as lightly as possible for fear of sinking further. Fortunately the water had risen enough enough by then that our lifeboat could come alongside and we were able to get both casualties onboard.’

RNLI Helm Shaun Wright steered the lifeboat towards the casualties, while RNLI Lifeboat Crew Member Rob Kershaw and Jay Hennessey helped the men onboard.

As the casualties had been in the water for around 25 minutes, there was a chilly south-westerly wind at the time and they were cold, both were taken by RNLI lifeboat to Pier Head. They were then transferred to on-standby Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Marine Rescue Unit before being taken to hospital for precautionary assessment.

Jay added: ‘As we start moving into warmer weather, we advise everyone visiting our coastal beaches to watch for muddy areas. Also to avoid crossing wide, flat estuaries and bays where these are more common.

‘If you are in difficulty or spot someone else in trouble, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

RNLI inshore lifeboat Norma Ethel Vinall is a relief craft in use at RNLI New Brighton while its permanent lifeboat Charles Dibdin is away for a five-yearly refit.

The RNLI lifeboat and volunteer crew were back at the boathouse by 6.36pm and the boat prepared for service.

Lifeboat with two crew in foreground with two casualties and a crew member in the background

RNLI/Boat camera

RNLI lifeboat approaches Crew Member Jay Hennessey and the two trapped men
Part of lifeboat in the foreground as Jay heads to casualties in the background

RNLI/Shaun Wright

Jay Hennessey heads to stranded casualties as Coastguard Rescue helicopter hovers overhead

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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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.

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