Emercency services carry out rescue exercise on Lowestoft beach
- Credit: Archant
Emergency services came together to take part in a sand hole collapse exercise on Lowestoft beach in preparation for the busy summer ahead.
With the number of reported sand hole collapses on the rise, the exercise aimed to ensure all first responders know the correct procedure when attending incidents.
HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold, Suffolk Fire and Rescue, Suffolk Police and RNLI Beach Lifeguards Waveney were among the teams present at South Beach on Tuesday, July 18, battling to locate and excavate dummies buried in the sand.
Liz Hustler, senior coastal operations officer for HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold, said: 'This is an incredibly important exercise as there have been a number of deaths and near misses in the UK from sand holes collapses in recent years.
'People don't appreciate the danger – as they dig deeper the sides of the hole becomes weaker.'
You may also want to watch:
Sand hole collapse is caused when the sand is unable to support itself and is dependant of factors including depth of the hole and moisture in the sand. Wet sand is more likely to hold shape while dry sand will collapse in on itself.
The rescue methods are simple but labour intensive and therefore response is likely to involve both the public and emergency responders.
- 1 Pedestrian dies after being hit by lorry on A47
- 2 Major rush hour delays expected as crash involving lorry closes part of A47
- 3 Flood warnings along Norfolk coast, with Wells flood gate in place
- 4 Family's tribute to 'gentle giant' killed in A134 crash
- 5 Crash blocks road off A47 at Honingham
- 6 Tributes as Leanne, 29, dies after receiving cancer 'all-clear'
- 7 Yarmouth man convicted of historic rape after DNA match
- 8 Former sixth form land could be divided up and sold
- 9 Norfolk receives overnight flood warnings
- 10 54-home plan delayed due to 'nightmare' traffic concerns
Paul Field, north district commander of Suffolk Fire and Rescue, said: 'With summer already here and the school holidays beginning this is a perfect time for this valuable exercise.
'With national incidents rising multi-agency operations must come together in a co-ordinated fashion.'
Whilst the services gave warning of the dangers of digging deep holes they do not forbid it entirely.
David Burwood, coastal rescue officer for Lowestoft and Southwold, said: 'We are not trying to stop people coming to the beach and digging sand holes – we really want people to do that.
'But when you start using gardening tools and get potentially 6ft down it starts to become a danger with a potential risk of entrapment.
'If it has taken potentially three hours to dig a hole 6ft down, how long could it take a rescuer to get down to you?'
For more information on how to stay safe at the beach visit: www.gov.uk/coastguardsafety