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Stranded walkers rescued by Lyme lifeboat crew
RESCUERS have repeated warnings about the sea after Lyme Regis lifeboat ended up with a record number of people on board at one time.
The inshore craft went to the aid of a six-strong group of walkers stranded by the encroaching high tide on Saturday evening.
The leader of the party, which included an eight-year-old boy, dialled 999 to say that they were cut off and stranded on the beach beneath Church Cliffs, near the Spittals.
Lyme Coastguard rescue officers were tasked and they quickly located the party, but were unable to reach them before the onset of darkness.
Lyme Regis RNLI inshore lifeboat was then requested to launch and the crew proceeded to the location, took all the walkers on board and landed them safely back at Lyme Harbour.
They were met by the coastguards who confirmed that they were all safe and well.
Safety advice, particularly the need check on tide times before setting out, was given to the group which included of a father and his young son from Christchurch and a man and three women from Bristol. The lifeboat was launched at 6.47pm, and all six people were taken to the safety of Lyme Regis harbour by the lifeboat, arriving at 6.59pm.
One of the lifeboat’s helmsmen, Martin Croad, said: “Including the crew we had a record number of ten people aboard, and the lifeboat performed extremely well in good conditions.”
Lyme Regis coastguard station manager Graham Turner said that the group of people had got into difficulties by not taking heed of warnings about the treacherous tides to the east of the town.
“They reached the eastern side of Lyme, to where the sea wall ends, but could not make it round the groynes and had got a bit disorientated,” said Mr Turner.
“It was a full tide and we contemplated calling out the helicopter, but they were not in immediate danger and the best access to them was from the sea.
“So the lifeboat was launched, picked them all up and took them back to the harbour.
“They weren’t panicking, but I think they realised they had been a bit silly.”
Mr Turner urged everyone walking along the coast to take note of warning signs and to be aware of tide times.
“Read the signs and do not attempt to walk along the beach when the tide is coming in. You will not be able to make it,” he added.
Lifeboat operations manager and Lyme harbourmaster Grahame Forshaw said that the incident showed exactly what the lifeboat is for.
“This was a great result in that everybody was recovered from the shore by the lifeboat crew, in what for them is a bread and butter shout.
“And I would urge people to check the tides. The differences in spring and neap tides and as the weather deteriorates, the water can be higher than expected.
It can catch the best of us out and if anyone is in any doubt before they set off they can contact the harbourmaster’s office.”
Town councillor Mark Gage said the incident showed that even in calm conditions it is imperative to check the tide tables.
“This shout shows absolutely what is at the heart of what the RNLI is about and how fortunate we are to have the lifeboat station.”
The Lyme Regis inshore lifeboat the Spirit of Loch Fyne arrived in the town in March and the crew has been called out on almost 40 occasions this year.
Earlier on Saturday the lifeboat had been launched to assist a 15 foot fishing vessel, Seafox, which had suffered engine failure eight miles south of Lyme. The boat was towed into the harbour.