Two rescued in six days by Appledore RNLI

Lifeboats Statement

Appledore RNLI rescued two women in two separate incidents in less than a week.

Woman stuck in the mud being helped to safety by a volunteer crew member

RNLI

The woman became stuck in the mud as she walked her dog

In the first incident, the volunteer crew were paged on Saturday 3 April, at approximately 10.45am to assist a female paddleboarder in trouble at the north end of Saunton Beach.

When the Coastguard was first notified, she was approximately 200 yards from the beach, but by the time the lifeboat reached her, just 15 minutes later, she was approximately three quarters of a mile out to sea due to the tide and strong easterly wind.

She was picked up by the inshore lifeboat, cold, exhausted and frightened, and returned to her partner and waiting Coastguards on Saunton Beach.

The casualty explained to the crew she had never meant to go out of her depth. An experienced cold water swimmer, she had recently bought an inflatable paddleboard from a local supermarket and tried it out in, what she perceived to be, good conditions with the beach relatively sheltered from the wind.

But she was horrified to find that it floated so high in the water that it acted like a sail, catching the wind and quickly blowing her away from the shore.

Appledore volunteer press officer Niki Tait said: ‘Thankfully all ended well, but the outcome could have been far worse.

'We urge the public to use an RNLI lifeguarded beach where the lifeguards have the training and equipment to get to you quicker than a lifeboat can. Currently in North Devon these are Croyde and Woolacombe.’

A few days later, on Thursday 8 April, Falmouth Coastguard requested the help of Appledore RNLI, along with the Fire and Rescue Service, after receiving a 999 call from a member of the public who spotted a dog walker trapped in the mud at Greysands, Northam Burrows.

She was stuck with the tide rapidly rising as she attempted to walk straight across the beach to Appledore Lifeboat Station.

Despite being close to the lifeboat station by the time the shallow draft boarding boat arrived on scene she was already up to her thighs in very cold water while her dog had managed to swim to safety.

She was freed by the volunteer lifeboat crew and taken back to the lifeboat station to be warmed up and reunited with her husband and dog.

Niki Tait urged the public to be careful with mudflats and said: 'It is so easy to get caught out.

'If you see someone in trouble in or near the water, please phone 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you are not sure, it is always far better to dial than to ignore a person who really needs help, like this lady did.'

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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