Rescuers scrambled to save couple drifting out to sea on lilo

An aerial shot of the Hunstanton RNLI hovercraft. Photo: Hunstanton RNLI

An aerial shot of the Hunstanton RNLI hovercraft. Photo: Hunstanton RNLI - Credit: Archant

The RNLI has issued a warning to those visiting the coast after rescuers were called to two separate incidents in as many hours on Thursday.

Hunstanton RNLI was first called at 4.19pm on June 25 to go to the aid of a man and woman who were drifting out to sea on a lilo off Heacham beach.

The crew located the couple about two miles out to sea and took the wet and cold pair aboard their hovercraft.

One of them was treated for a cut foot before both were taken ashore and handed over into the care of the local Coastguard team.

The crew was still cleaning down the hovercraft back at the station at 6.07pm when a second call was received – this time a group of five people, including a six-year-old girl, had been cut off by the tide at Brancaster.

Rescuers took aboard the girl, along with two women and two teenage boys, and returned them to the safety of the beach.

It came the day after the crew at Hunstanton were called to three separate incidents on Wednesday, as people flocked to the coast to make the most of the warm weather.

In response to these two calls the RNLI has issued a warning to beach-goers, asking them not to use inflatables at sea.

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A statement said: “Do not use inflatables in the sea. Tidal waters have strong tidal currents, especially in the approaches to harbours.

If you see someone in danger dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard, who will page us.”

General coastal safety tips from the organisation include checking the weather and tide times, reading signs in the area, being aware of local hazards, including sandbanks, channels and strong tidal currents, and carrying a means of calling for help if needed.