Ilfracombe lifeboat launches to two people cut off by tide near Combe Martin

Lifeboats News Release

The Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat was launched on 25 September at 2.46 p.m. following a 999 call to the Coastguard reporting two people in the water at Camels Eye near Combe Martin harbour

The Shannon Class lifeboat at sea

RNLI/Neil Perrin

The Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation (Library image)

The volunteer crew launched Ilfracombe RNLI Shannon class all-weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation to a report of two people in the water near Combe Martin harbour. The lifeboat made best speed towards the scene, although conditions were rough with 3 metre waves and 25 knot north westerly winds. Fortunately visibility was good and the earlier mist and rain had passed enabling the crew to get a clear view of the coastline.

On arriving at the scene, the crew found the two people, a man and a woman had made their way to safety on the rocks although they were now cut off by the tide. The couple had been walking on the shoreline from Combe Martin an hour and a half before high tide. After rounding the breakwater and the headland they found the tide was coming in very quickly and they were unable to get back to the harbour. The couple had then waded through the rising tide to reach some higher rocks where they were safe from the waves and sheltered from the strong winds.

The lifeboat was unable to reach the couple on the rocks due to the waves. However, the couple were in no danger and the crew were able confirm that they were happy to wait for the tide to go out so that they could walk out safely. During this time the Coastguard had been monitoring the situation and been preparing to send a helicopter to lift the couple off the rocks, however as the lifeboat arrived, the couple were making a call to the Coastguard to let them know they were safe and that they were content to remain on the rocks until the tide receded. Having made sure that no lives were at risk the lifeboat made its way back to the station and arrived back in Ilfracombe at 3.30 p.m.

RNLI Volunteer Coxswain Andrew Bengey says, “this weekend will be was one of the highest spring tides of the year and high tide today was 7.8 metres. The tide can come in very quickly and catch people out. Fortunately today no one was hurt, however we would urge people to check the tide timetables before walking along the shoreline.”

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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 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.

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