Couple rescued from waters in marshland around Wells warning - “ never underestimate the wilderness”

Joey Kuna and Taylor Shaw with their tent back in Norwich, after getting stranded by the tide at Wel

Joey Kuna and Taylor Shaw with their tent back in Norwich, after getting stranded by the tide at Wells and rescued by the coastguard. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A couple who became stranded in marshland close to Wells are warning others to 'never underestimate the wilderness'.

And Joey Kuna and Taylor Shaw, from Norwich, said they were 'extremely grateful' to paramedics and lifeboat teams who rescued them, cold, exhausted and wrapped in a tent sheet, as Monday night began to draw in.

The couple had cycled the three hour journey from Norwich to Wells, and Mr Kuna, 25, planned to camp out with girlfriend Ms Shaw, 29, on a tidal island he used to visit as a teenager.

But after arriving late and misjudging the tides, the couple got into difficulty swimming between Wells and Stiffkey.

'I knew it was a risk and we were thinking of a Plan B - to walk along the coastal path to find a place to camp,' said Mr Kuna. But finding a boat on their route, the pair decided to attempt the crossing over multiple marsh creeks.


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'It got to the point where we couldn't be bothered to drag the boat because it was quite a long way to the island,' added Mr Kuna. 'We were walking and had dry bags with all our things in.

'We got to the point where there was quite a big creek to cross and we had to try to swim to the island, or go back.'

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They stripped off their clothes and tried the swim, but after about 30 seconds the cold set in.

'We failed to recognise the fact it would be a lot colder than we thought, and harder to turn back,' said Mr Kuna. 'We had been swimming for a little while when I said 'this is too cold, I don't think we are safe at all'.

'Every time I got in the water I couldn't breathe properly. We decided to turn back, but Taylor was tired from the cycling which added another element of danger because we were both struggling in different ways.

'Suddenly we were so cold we were falling in a creek we had earlier jumped over with no problem at all. We didn't panic but we got to a point where trying to get back on our own wasn't safe. It was when I thought I had stones in my shoe which turned out to be my toes. I had lost all sensation.'

The crew of the Wells inshore life boat were paged around 8.17pm, and found the couple in Mo Creek around 8.58pm. They were seen by paramedics and given accommodation in Wells for the evening.

Back on dry land, Mr Kuna said he plans to make 'a significant donation' to the coastguard.

It was an amazing feeling when they spotted us and we couldn't feel more grateful,' he said. 'I was mortified but when they fixed us up they were extremely kind.'

'My message would be never to underestimate the danger of going out in the wilderness,' he added. 'I can't believe how badly I judged my own capabilities.'

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