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Coastguard issues warning to walkers and fossilers
COASTGUARDS have issued a warning to walkers and fossil hunters after two coastal emergencies in one day.
Both emergencies were following recent landslips, with one man stranded on the footpath which had been blocked by debris, and three people – including two children –stuck in mud on Charmouth beach.
Coastguards were on a patrol of the area when they were alerted to the first incident at 1.20pm.
A 999 call reported three people stuck in the mud up to their waists in the landslide east of the River Char.
Coastguards arrived to find the two children, aged 11 and 13, had freed themselves but their father remained stuck after trying to rescue them.
A coastguard spokesman said: “Dad had gone to try and rescue the children himself and had quickly sunk up to his waist only a metre from safe ground. “Two local fossilers had then managed to pull the father to safety as the mud rescue team mustered.”
The family were not hurt and returned home without their wellington boots.
The spokesman said: “If you become stuck in mud try to spread your weight as much as possible. “If you have a mobile phone call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard. “Avoid moving and stay as calm as you can. “Discourage others from attempting to rescue you, since without the proper equipment they could become stuck too.”
The team was called out for a second time just after 8pm to reports of a walker stranded on the coast path between Charmouth and Seatown.
The spokesman said: “The exhausted visitor had intended to walk from Charmouth to Golden Cap.
“He was unable to leave the beach at St Gabriel’s steps because they have been washed away with the recent poor weather.
“He had continued east to Seatown and decided to return to Charmouth along the coast path at night.
“The coast path is very difficult underfoot and currently impassable in some locations.
“He had reached a foot bridge on the path that has been closed, due to a landslide, without an alternative route indicated.
“He had endeavored to retrace his steps and become lost and phoned 999 for help.”
The walker had seen a marker sign and was able to give the coastguard a grid reference.
He was returned to his accommodation and did not require medical attention.
The coastguard has urged walkers to be prepared before they set out.
“Think about the equipment, experience, capabilities and enthusiasm of your party members, taking into account the time of year, the terrain and the nature of the trip – and choose your routes accordingly,” said the spokesman.
Walkers should also check the weather and tidal conditions, eat before setting out, leave a route plan with someone, and charge phone batteries.
If you become lost, an idea of location such as a grid reference will help coastguards locate you quicker.
The spokesman added: “If you get into difficulty, call 999 and ask for the coastguard. “Do not attempt to self rescue.”