West Kirby RNLI rescue an unprecedented number of people this weekend

Lifeboats News Release

At 12:56 this afternoon Sunday 2 February, HM Coastguard requested the launch of the West Kirby RNLI lifeboat to rescue two persons cut off by the rising tide at Little Eye. The lifeboat pagers were set immediately and the lifeboat was launched at the Sandy Lane slipway less than ten minutes.

On arrival at Little Eye there was no one on the island, therefore the lifeboat proceeded to Middle Hilbre where two people were sighted waving to the volunteer crewmen from the east side of the south beach.

To reach the two stranded people without having to risk damaging the lifeboat on the rocks and risking transferring the two over the slippery rocks into the lifeboat, the crew circumnavigated Hilbre Island in order to approach the south beach of Middle Hilbre from the easterly direction.

Whilst rounding the north end of Hilbre Island, the lifeboat crew noticed two more people waving for assistance on the main island and transferred a crew member onto the rocks in order to remain with them until the lifeboat could return after rescuing the original two.

On arrival at the south end of Middle eye, the original two stranded people; a father and son, were recovered and immediately transferred to the shore at Dee Lane where HM Coastguards were waiting.

Once the father and son were in the hands of HM Coastguards, the RNLI charity’s volunteers returned to Hilbre Island to recover the second two people who had been found stranded and with the assistance of the crew member who was left ashore to support them, transferred the two to the lifeboat and swiftly returned to the safety of the West Kirby shore.

A lifeboat spokesman for West Kirby RNLI stated that although the islands look quite near to the shore it takes best part of an hour for a fit walker unimpeded to reach Hilbre Island.

He said:

'The best advice is to plan your trip, a fully charged mobile phone should be a given, let someone know of your expected return time, know the time of the tide, and have a contingency plan for emergencies with spare food, water and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. Give yourself plenty of time to return to the West Kirby beach, particularly consider the speed of least capable member of the group. A safe rule of thumb is to leave Hilbre Island at least three hours before high water. It is best not to follow others walking out without checking for yourself as the people you are following may not be aware of the necessary requirements for a safe trip.'

'Finally, don’t be put off. The Hilbre Islands are wonderful and unforgettable place to see; provided you are aware of what is required to enjoy a safe visit.'


For further information, please contact Ed Rowland, Deputy Launching Authority and Lifeboat Press Officer. Contact mobile no. 07429277294. Email edrowland100@btinternet.com

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 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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