Despair over Norfolk sea rescue

A lifeboat coxswain yesterday said he 'didn't know what more to do' to make people take care when they visit the Norfolk coast following a major rescue operation to save six children, 11 adults and two dogs.

A lifeboat coxswain yesterday said he 'didn't know what more to do' to make people take care when they visit the Norfolk coast following a major rescue operation to save six children, 11 adults and two dogs.

As reported in yesterday's EDP, two lifeboats, coastguards, a rescue helicopter, three kayaks and a ferry boat were all involved in the operation on Sunday night when two groups of daytrippers were cut off at Scolt Head Island, near Burnham Overy Staithe.

No figure has been put on the cost of the operation but it is thought it could be up to tens of thousands of pounds.

The people - including a three-month old baby - were eventually brought back to shore by the Burnham Overy ferry.


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There were near gale force winds and rough seas and the people had been wearing summer clothes.

The conditions were too rough for the inshore lifeboat, meaning a lifeboat from Hunstanton and a bigger boat from Wells were sent out, as well as a rescue helicopter from Wattisham and a team of coastguards.

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Wells lifeboat coxswain Allen Frary said warnings were constantly given and signs were up in the area but people 'didn't seem to be listening.'

'I just do not know what we can do now to get this through to people. They can put themselves in a lot of danger, either by attempting to swim back across any channel up here, particularly with the tides as they are at the moment.

'And of course like last night there is the risk of hypothermia when the weather shuts in like it did.'

He urged people to check tide times before venturing out.

Christina Martyn, watch manager at Yarmouth Coastguard, said: 'As ever, people tend to forget that the sea rises twice a day, and that it is the easiest thing to forget and become stuck on the island with seemingly no way back to the mainland.

'The reserve is a truly outstanding place to visit with wintering birds such as Brent and Pinkfooted geese, breeding birds such as terns, ringed plover, oystercatcher, sand dune and saltmarsh flora to be seen. But Natural England, who look after the reserve, also make the point in their literature and web site warning visitors to beware of the tide times. And visitors are also reminded not walk across the mud flats to the island unless you know the area very well.'

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