Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 12.47pm on Monday 1 February to reports of two people stuck in mud near to Sally’s Cottage on Thurstaston Beach.
Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their Inshore Rescue Hovercraft Hurley Spirit before quickly heading to the scene. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Flint and Wirral Coastguard Rescue Teams had also been tasked and officers were on scene, where the casualties were stuck in mud up to their waists at the base of a cliff.
The location was particularly hazardous following a recent landslide and with the tide flooding, the casualties had to be freed quickly before water covered the area. The Hoylake RNLI crew and other emergency services worked together to free the first casualty within minutes, who was brought on board the hovercraft. The second casualty, who had injured their leg, then had to be carefully dug out by hand but was eventually extracted and brought on board the hovercraft using the Coastguard’s sled.
The casualties, along with two firefighters, were flown ashore to Dee Sailing Club slipway and were passed to the care of the North West Ambulance Service.
The hovercraft then returned to the scene to collect the rescue equipment and two Coastguard officers. With the incident safely concluded, the RNLI hovercraft and her crew returned to the lifeboat station to be washed down, refuelled and made ready for service again.
Hoylake RNLI volunteer hovercraft commander Matt Pownall-Jones said, “This incident was time critical given the difficult terrain and the flooding tide. Through the coordinated efforts of the different emergency services, together we were able to free the casualties and bring them back to safety.
“Recent poor weather and coastal erosion has made this stretch of coast particularly dangerous and we advise anyone using their local coastline for exercise during lockdown to keep well away from cliffs and muddy areas. If you get into difficulty at the coast, or see someone else in difficulty, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”