At 3.59 pm Humber Coastguard paged Hunstanton Hovercraft in response to a report of persons cut off by tide at Brancaster.
The Hunstanton Flyer launched on service and Humber CG informed them that four persons were in the water clinging to No.10 Buoy in Brancaster Harbour channel. As the tide was coming in fast it was decided to also send our Atlantic 85 lifeboat.
As the hovercraft approached the scene they spotted three persons hanging on to the Buoy. Two of the group either lost or let go of their hold and were swept down tide towards the harbour. One young girl was hanging on for dear life. Senior helmsman Michael Darby jumped over the side and swam to the terrified young girl. He grabbed hold of her and managed to inflate his lifejacket which kept them both afloat.
Meanwhile the hovercraft crew, under the command of Tim Richardson, went to the two persons now several yards down tide. They grabbed hold of them and hauled them aboard the hovercraft, and then returned to recover Michael Darby and the young girl. They were all totally exhausted and hysterical having been hanging on to the Buoy for some considerable time in a very strong current. The fourth person, a male, had managed to swim to the shore.
Concerned for their well being, the crew asked for an ambulance paramedic to check the casualties. They were taken to the beach near Brancaster Golf Club, and handed over to the ambulance crew and local coastguard. The three sisters, one believed to be in her twenties, and the other two 10 to 12 year olds were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Kings Lynn for checks.
This incident was the most serious one we have attended for some time, and the prompt response by the volunteer crew saved this young family.
Visitors to the coast should be aware of the tide times however tempting it is to walk out on to the banks. The tidal currents are strong as the tide turns and soon flood the banks. Take care, enjoy the beach and stay safe.
As always, you can keep up to date with details of all the latest news on the Hunstanton page of the RNLI website… and also on Facebook.
Latest News released by Geoff Needham, Lifeboat Press Officer, Hunstanton Lifeboat Station.
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