A 15 year old boy out walking with relatives on Morecambe Bay sands became trapped in mud and quicksand just a few hundred yards from the shore at about 2pm Saturday afternoon. Unable to free him, a relative summoned the Coastguard Rescue Agency and their teams sped by hovercraft to save him.
By a huge stroke of luck, Knott-End Coastguard Rescue Team, Morecambe, Arnside & South Lakes Coastguard Rescue Team, Morecambe Lifeboat hovercraft and the Coastguard helicopter based at Caernarfon were already mustered and out on a practice drill, so they were able to respond instantly.
Luckier still, the tide was on the way out and by 4pm the rescue team had managed to free the boy using specialist mud rescue equipment. He was transferred to the helicopter landing site on shore using the hover craft and flown to hospital.
Stay calm, call 999
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency issued the following statement:
"Remember if you become stuck in mud or quicksand our advice is always the same ‘Stay calm, try and spread your weight as much as possible and avoid moving. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'
Thankfully, the family member did exactly the right thing in this case. Anybody trapped should discourage other well-meaning members of the public from attempting to rescue them because without the proper equipment they could become stuck too."
Morecambe Bay sands 'truly lethal'
The Morecambe Bay Sands are notorious for their shifting patterns of quicksands and clinging mud. During a similar rescue of a 13 year old boy in 2014, Arnside Coastguard station officer Nigel Capstick said: 'Of all the scenarios we train to prevent and resolve, quicksand rescue is undoubtedly the most difficult and onerous.
'A child stuck up to the waist, especially with an incoming tide, is our worst nightmare, as the possible consequences do not bear thinking about.
'However, it is a very real possibility as the sands out in the Bay are truly lethal."