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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Please save us! Holiday terror as stranded tourists are stuck up to their waists in quicksand trying to walk across mudflats

By Daily Mail Reporter

This tourist is stranded up to his waist in mud after trying to walk across a 1.8mile wide river estuary at low tide.

The hapless holiday maker and two friends sparked a huge rescue operation after becoming stuck in quicksand while attempting to walk across the mudflat.

Walkers on a nearby headland heard their cries for help and a rescue operation was launched involving coastguards, paramedics and a police helicopter.

Stranded: The holidaymaker is stuck up to his waist in mud as he tries to wade across the River Axe near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

They had been attempting to get across the mouth of the River Axe between Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and Brean Down.

They were eventually located around half-a-mile from the shore but managed to haul themselves to safety after an estimated two hours in the mud.

One of the exhausted men - who were all aged in their late teens or early 20s - was covered up to his shoulders in sand and silt.

Burnham-on-Sea Coastguard officer Steve Bird said the three were lucky to escape.

Trouble ahead: The tourist walks out onto the mudflat before getting into difficulty in the quicksand. The coastguard said no one should attempt to walk across

He said: 'The three gentlemen attempted to cross at low tide. You can get stuck and then the tide comes in, and there is a real risk of drowning.

'People unfortunately do try to cross the river every year, despite all the warning signs.

'Under no circumstances should anyone ever try to cross this river estuary. We received three 999 calls tonight from concerned walkers who saw the three men.

'While no-one was injured this time, we could easily have seen a tragic ending.'
Coastguards were alerted to the danger on Saturday night.

The coastguard helicopter was called as the three men got into difficulties. They can just be seen, bottom, centre, making their way across the mudflat

One of the men made it across to the sand at Burnham but the two others turned back after getting stranded.

They were met by police and paramedics after the ordeal and a local hovercraft was put on stand-by to rescue them if needed.

A spokesman for Swansea Coastguard, which co-ordinated the response, said: 'It (the other side) looks a lot closer then it is.

'But when you get out into the mud you realise it's a long way and you get bogged down. It's exhausting.'



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