Missing man rescued from Norfolk coast after large-scale operation is lucky to be alive
- Credit: Archant
A 75-year-old man who was rescued from marshes on the Norfolk coast after he had been missing for close to 24 hours is lucky to be alive, says the RNLI.
A large-scale rescue operation took place on Saturday and Sunday after a relative reported the man as missing after he was last seen at about 5.10pm on Saturday walking from Brancaster towards Titchwell.
The Hunstanton and Wells Coastguard rescue teams along with the Hunstanton RNLI searched in heavy rain and 'hazardous conditions' into the early hours of Sunday morning.
At 6am the search continued and the man was located by a Norfolk police drone, assisted by Norfolk Fire and Rescue's drone which was on its first outing, before he was winched to safety by the coastguard helicopter.
The East of England Ambulance Service said the man was treated at the scene for hypothermia and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, by the air ambulance for further care.
Geoff Needham, from Hunstanton RNLI, said he believes the man was fortunate to be found alive.
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'I think he was very fortunate and luck was on his side,' he said. 'Had it have been winter I would not have rated his chances at all.
'We were called on the Saturday evening and the boat searched the whole area which was under the water because there were big tides. The weather was not brilliant, it was a milder night, but the search conditions were hazardous at times.'
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He added: 'It is a marshy area and there are creeks and marshes. The reed beds are fairly thick there. You can get cut off quite easily if you venture off the walk ways.'
The Hunstanton and Wells Coastguard rescue teams along with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) found footprints leading onto the marsh area on Sunday.
An RSPB camera also showed the man heading down into the marshes.
Viv Thomas was on a camping trip with friends nearby and they could hear the search going on.
She said: 'It was clear something major was happening and when we later heard it was a search for a missing pensioner there was obviously a great deal of concern for the man's welfare.'
She said the group was relieved the man was found alive.