Weston RNLI saves three lives and rescues 5 people in one shout

Lifeboats News Release

Several people were rescued from the mud but three more were in imminent danger from the fast tides in Weston Bay

This is the shingle bank which is only visible and dry at low tide

RNLI/Glyn Hayes

How people get to the island

Weston RNLI has warned on many occasion of the risk people take by going over to Birnbeck Island. There have been sixteen shouts so far this year and over half of them have been to the Island. This is despite warnings on social media and warning signs on the land . The biggest problem is that at low tide it looks inviting to visit the derelict island but those who do not understand the speed with which the tide in Weston rises can easily get caught out. The most dangerous thing is people seeing the tide rising then trying to wade through the rushing water. Yesterday three people nearly died trying to do just that.

Weston RNLI volunteers were requested to launch yesterday at 16:50 by HM Coastguard. They launched their D Class lifeboat to assist a group stuck in the mud near Marine Lake. Almost immediately they were then tasked to 2 people in an inflatable stuck in the mud. These people were up to the waist at the tide-line with a quickly incoming tide which was already around them.

They were just landing these people when an immediate divert was radioed to the boat to multiple 999 calls of 2 people on Birnbeck Island who had tried to walk back across the shingle bank and got swept away by the fast flowing water.

The D class, with the first casualties still aboard, made best speed to the area and quickly recovered both casualties who were in serious difficulties in rough water being swept away quickly.

With the 2 casualties added to the lifeboat, a call from a Coastguard on the shore informed the crew that another swimmer, who had entered the water to assist, was in difficulties.

The crew turned the lifeboat and headed to the location, directed by the Coastguard on the shore and recovered this casualty too.

All casualties were then transferred to the care of the Weston-Super-Mare Coastguard Rescue Team and the ambulance service for onward transfer to hospital.

Mike Buckland, Weston-super-Mare lifeboat Operations Manager said; ‘We keep our service going despite the lockdown. At least 3 lives were saved today by the Weston volunteers. If you see anyone in danger at the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. We wish all the casualties a speedy recovery Thank you to all who did the right thing and called 999.’

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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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