"It was absolutely astonishing" - Wife of 75-year-old man who was rescued from marshes after 20 hours speaks of ordeal
PUBLISHED: 15:57 19 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:15 19 June 2018
A 75-year-old man is recovering from spending 20 hours immersed in water after becoming lost in marshes off the Norfolk coast.
Peter Pugh went missing on Saturday afternoon, after a walk with friends on Brancaster Beach.
Police have released drone footage showing the moment officers found him in a remote reedbed at Titchwell Marsh.
Coastguards said it was a miracle Mr Pugh was found alive after being stranded waist-deep in water.
Suffering from hypothermia, he was pulled out of the deep, muddy creek by a search and rescue helicopter, before being airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.
Mr Pugh’s wife of 53 years Felicity, 73, said her husband could not remember being rescued.
“He has no recollection of being air-lifted out,” she added. “After that mental ordeal, once he heard the coastguard his brain must’ve thought I’ve had enough, I can’t take any more.”
She described Mr Pugh as a terribly fit and determined person, who had a steely core and exercised regularly.
Mrs Pugh, who visited her husband in hospital, said he had suffered slashes on his arms and legs from the reeds but that he was “remarkably better.”
She added: “He cycles everywhere and walks half a mile every day, this is an example of how your health can save you.”
Throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning, Mrs Pugh and her sons Warwick, Alexander and Oliver had resigned themselves into thinking Mr Pugh may not be found alive.
“I was sure he most probably got caught in the high tide and got lost at sea,” Mrs Pugh added. But when the police called her to reveal the good news, Mrs Pugh said: “It was absolutely astonishing, we felt elated.
“The amazing coastguard and the police were extraordinary, I can’t speak kindly of them enough.”
Sergeant Alex Bucher, who helped co-ordinate the search operation, said: “This is a great example of multi-agency working at its best and through our teamwork we were able to successfully locate Mr Pugh and return him back to his family on Father’s Day.
“Approximately 50 people were directly involved with this search operation and it was through their dedication and hard work we were able to save this man’s life.”