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Minehead lifeboat crew save trapped walkers

Lifeboats News Release

A couple’s week-end seaside break turned to drama on Saturday night when they found themselves trapped by the tide to the foot of 800-foot Exmoor cliffs.

Minehead RNLI's D class lifeboat


Minehead RNLI's D class lifeboat

Their ordeal only ended when they were rescued by Minehead’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew - who located them sitting on a rock with the tide still rising around them.

The pair, in their 30s, had set out from Minehead to walk to Hurlestone Point, three miles to the west. But as they headed back and in failing light they found their way blocked by the incoming spring tide.

With the cliffs impossible to climb they used a mobile phone to contact coastguards.

Minehead’s D class was launched at around 1930hrs and eventually located the couple - but extracting them was far from simple.

Helm Karla Thresher said: “They really were stuck in a very awkward place with water all around them and the tide still rising.

“Our only option was to drop the anchor and veer down the line but just as we did so the swell suddenly increased and the boat got knocked about a bit on the rocks.”

The couple were eventually landed at Minehead harbour, cold but uninjured.

Minehead RNLI operations manager Dr John Higgie said they had been extremely lucky.

“That is not a place to get trapped, particularly at night,” he said.

“If they hadn’t been able to make contact they wouldn’t have been able to make their way back until Sunday morning’s tide was on the way out.

“We always advise people who are walking along beaches to take some means of attracting attention with them.

“In this case a mobile phone quite possibly saved two lives.”

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 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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