Dramatic rescue for group trapped by tide

By a County Press reporter

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

 

FIVE young men had a lucky escape on Monday night after being trapped by the tide at Watcombe Bay, near Freshwater.

The group had been tombstoning and surfing in the area, according to Lyminton RNLI, which with Needles Coastguard Rescue, came to the aid of the five after they got into difficulty.

Lymington spokesman Glenn Julius said: "Having been caught by the tide, with the light rapidly fading and marooned on the beach, two of these young men managed to swim around the headland to Freshwater to call 999 and alert the Coastguard.

"Meanwhile, another two attempted to scale the cliff face in desperation, only to get stuck some 40 feet above the beach.

"Lymington’s volunteer lifeboat was quickly on scene and dispatched volunteer crewman Phil Baker to swim ashore. On accessing the incident, the Needles Coastguard cliff rescue team was immediately called, who scaled down the cliff face to rescue the casualties.

"Unable to haul the casualties upwards to safety, the cliff rescue team had to lower them down the rock face to avert the immediate danger.

"Phil then had to repeatedly swim with each casualty to the lifeboat, 20 yards offshore, finally returning to the cliff rescue team crew member."

Lifeboat helm Rowley Macfarlane said the group had been extremely lucky.

Ray Morey of Needles Coastguard urged people not to attempt to climb the cliffs, if they could remain safely on the shore.

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