Two young girls and their father swept away by the sea after being cut off by the tide at Hunstanton

Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt

Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Two young girls clung to their father after being swept away by the sea when they were cut off by the tide on a holiday visit to the beach.

Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt

Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The man and his two daughters, believed to be aged eight and 12, were swept down towards Heacham when they ventured out onto the sandbanks opposite Hunstanton's Alive Oasis swimming pool.

MORE: Family swept away by sea at Hunstanton 'minutes from tragedy'

'He became cut off by the incoming tide,' said Geoff Needham, spokesman for Hunstanton RNLI.

'They soon became out of their depth while returning to the beach and were swept down towards Heacham by the current.

Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt

Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'The younger girl, believed to be about eight years old, was hanging on to her father's neck. The other girl, about 12, was also holding on.' Fortunately the trio, who were holidaying in Hunstanton, managed to reach land after the Hunstanton RNLI hovercraft launched at 3.30pm on Tuesday, August 8 to rescue them.

A paramedic attended to check the family over and found the father had swallowed some water. However everyone was given the all-clear.

Earlier this year Mr Needham warned that Norfolk tide times were catching out tourists who venture out onto vast open beaches and leaving them stranded after a number of similar rescues this year.

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The combination of the warm weather bringing out tourists and fortnightly 'spring tides' - which leave vast expanses of open beach with shallow water, lulling people into a false sense of security - mean more people were getting caught out, he said.

Although there are escape routes, visitors without local knowledge may not know where to turn, he warned.

His warning then was 'don't venture out too far' - and he gave a similar message following the latest rescue.

Mr Needham urged tourists 'not to venture out onto the flats or banks at Hunstanton, Heacham or Snettisham', adding: 'However tempting, tides in this area go out over a mile on big ebbs.

'When the tide turns, the tidal currents are very strong.

'Tides are predictable. Weather conditions can change very quickly you can soon be in trouble. Respect the water stay safe keep off the banks and within your limits.'

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