Family trapped in water saved by fisherman

Bay rescue incident at Teal Bay, near VVV at Monday afternoon.
Bay rescue incident at Teal Bay, near VVV at Monday afternoon.

A fisherman told how he rushed to the aid of a family of five who became trapped up to their waists in water at Morecambe.

The drama, right next to the Green Street slipway on the promenade, was just one of five rescues on Saturday in the bay. And in a sixth drama yesterday, Monday, police, coastguard, ambulance and fire crews were called to locate people trapped in sinking sand – which turned out to be an expensive hoax.

The Green Street rescue was launched after the daytrippers were fishing with nets with their three young children when the dad fell into a gully.

The dad, mum and three kids, one aged around four and the other two aged seven, then became trapped in the water, which ended up to their waists.

Jim Lindsay, 61, a self employed engineer, was launching his boat when he noticed the family in trouble.

He said: “I said ‘stay where you are and I’ll get the coastguard.’

“The kids were terrified and crying. One of the boys said ‘I don’t want it to end like this’.

“The water was just above the father’s knees and he was sinking up to his chest.

“The mum was trying to keep the kids calm and they were clinging to their parents. I could have swum across the gully but it was no good us all getting stuck.

“The dad said they were here on a day trip and he had the rail tickets in his pocket, which were getting wet.

“There were hundreds of people on the beach but no-one except me seemed to notice they were in trouble.”

He added: “It was a good half hour before the lifeboat came and rescued them. They were taken to hospital for treatment.

“I guess I helped tell people to come and save their lives. I had to reassure them they weren’t going to drown.

“I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t seen them.

“People don’t realise how quick the water comes in and it can be murky so you can’t see the gullies.”

The family were rescued at 1pm on Saturday by the Morecambe inshore lifeboat crew and were taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for a check up.

It was one of a number of rescues in the bay that afternoon which included crews being called out at 12.10pm to assist Arnside coastguard in recovering four people stranded on a sandbank near Grange-over-Sands

Whilst the hovercraft was on route to the incident at Grange, significant amounts of people in separate groups were also cut off near Silverdale.

Lifeboat Helmsman James Donnell says “We encourage people to read sea safety notices and take extra care whilst walking on the sands or near the water as tides in the Morecambe Bay Area can be fast rising and extremely dangerous”.

An SOS call which sparked a large scale rescue operation in Morecambe Bay yesterday (Monday) turned out to be a hoax.

Thirty firefighters from both Lancashire and Cumbria, coastguard and a rescue boat searched the Bay on Monday afternoon after claims that people were trapped in sinking sand.

The alarm was raised at 2.30pm on Monday when a caller in Bolton claimed to have intercepted an SOS from people trapped in Morecambe Bay via a radio transmitter.

Seventy foot high observation ‘cherry pickers’ went out onto the sands at Red Bank Farm at Bolton-le-Sands to scour the area, while a police helicopter circled over Teal Bay and up to Arnside.

Emergency service workers held people back at the VVV gym with around 20 cars backed up while the operation went on.

But John Taylor, spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said the call was later found to be a hoax and police were now investigating.

Mr Taylor said: “This takes resources away from genuine incidents”

He estimated the operation could have cost the fire service alone more than £1,000.

Tony Ashworth, from Lancaster Fire Station, speaking at the scene, added: “It’s beyond belief why someone would do that. It just seems a ridiculous thing to do.”

Four children were rescued from a sandbank in Morecambe, moments before it collapsed.

The group had been playing and hadn’t realised that the tide had come in behind them.

Just before 1pm on Thursday a local coastguard team spotted the children and managed to pick them up before any serious difficulties.

A coastguard spokesman said: “They were very lucky they were spotted in time.”