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Lyme Regis storm watchers slammed by emergency services
THRILLSEEKERS who tried to watch the St Jude storm from the Cobb and on the beach at Lyme Regis have been branded ‘stupid’.
Reports of a man possibly falling into the sea off the Cobb Wall led to a 90-minute search by the coastguard helicopter on Saturday night.
The harbourmaster was even forced to close the Cobb on Sunday as people continued to try and walk along the wall.
Grahame Forshaw, Lyme Regis harbourmaster, said: “The great British public don’t appear to fully understand the dangers of storms on the sea front and how life-threatening they can be.
“I am absolutely astonished at the stupidity of people and parents who allow their children to go on to the seafront and chase the waves in those conditions.
“They just don’t think or don’t realise what they’re doing.
“As soon as our backs were turned people were still trying to get past the barriers on to the Cobb as well. They don’t understand at all. I’ve seen people being swept off the Cobb by the waves and it’s not pretty and in no way is it fun. The search on Saturday night shows exactly how dangerous it can be.”
The town braced itself for the storm, predicted to be one of the worst in ten years, throughout Sunday.
Lifeboat crew helped prepare the harbour by securing boats and moving some yachts onto land to protect them.
A red flood warning was issued by the Met Office for the harbour, but that was removed at midday on Monday after the seas had calmed.
Fallen trees lead to traffic delays on the Monday morning, with the B3165, Old Lyme Road in Charmouth and the A3052 junction onto the A35 all blocked.
Large amounts of surface water on the roads also forced motorists to take diversions, and bus services were not in service again until 10am.
Graham Turner, coastguard station officer at Lyme Regis, said: “People do not realise the danger and the power of the waves, and the search on Saturday showed that.
“There is no way on the face of this planet we could have saved anybody who had fallen into the sea in those conditions. They were too dangerous. I refuse to put my men in danger like that.
“People have got to take more responsibility for their actions.
“They think: ‘This would make a fantastic picture’ and don’t give a second thought of what might happen to them, and about us who have to try and rescue them.”
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