Minehead RNLI rescue walker from rising tide

Lifeboats News Release

A walker trapped in a “hopeless” position at the bottom of 600 foot cliffs was snatched to safety by Minehead RNLI lifeboat crew on Sunday evening

RNLI/Phil Sanderson

Minehead RNLI D Class

The man had been attempting to make his way along a boulder beach just east of Foreland Point, near Lynmouth, but was forced to scramble up onto rocks as the tide rose.

He called Coastguards on his mobile phone and within minutes Minehead’s volunteer RNLI crew had launched the station’s Atlantic 85 and D class boats.

The Atlantic 85, with volunteer helm Richard Gay in command, was first on scene and quickly located the 30-year old man.

Richard said: 'He was really in a hopeless position, perched on a rock, with the cliffs rising sheer behind him and the tide still coming in.'

The crew anchored the lifeboat and veered down the anchor line to within a metre of the point where the man was stranded. Crew member Andrew Escott entered the water with a line, scrambled over the rocks, and managed to extricate the casualty.

Richard said: 'There was a bit of a sea running but we managed to put the boat in at exactly the right spot. Andrew told him he was going to have to get wet but he was happy to accept that knowing that at least he was going to be safe.'

The man was checked over en route to Lynmouth harbour where he was put ashore five minutes after being rescued.

Minehead RNLI operations manager Dr John Higgie said the operation had been carried out at one of the most dangerous locations on the local coastline.

'There are some really fierce currents running there and it takes a high degree of skill to get a lifeboat in that close in under the cliffs in any kind of sea. This was a real text-book job,' he said.

'Luckily this chap had the good sense to be carrying some means of attracting attention – his mobile phone – otherwise the outcome could have been very different.'

The shout came as the Minehead crew moved onto temporary accommodation which they will occupy while their historic lifeboat house undergoes a £1 million extension and upgrade.

Contractors have moved in today to start a project which will create a new boat hall for the D class and provide changing rooms, showers and training facilities for the crew, enlarged workshops and retail space, and a public viewing gallery. Work is expected to take nine months to complete.

RNLI media contacts

Further information from:

Chris Rundle, Press Office, RNLI Minehead: 01643 703371/07786 630523 or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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