Emergency services were mobilized to rescue a man stuck in deep mud off the Lancashire coast before daybreak today.
Fire crews, paramedics and a lifeboat hovercraft were all involved in bringing the stranded male to safety.
The alarm was raised at around 5.15am when the man got into difficulties in darkness more than 100 metres offshore at Marine Road Central, opposite the Lothersdale Hotel in Morecambe.
Two fire crews from Morecambe and Lancaster attended after being alerted by the North West Ambulance Service.
Firefighters used a specialist inflatable walkway to reach the man and free him from the mud. He was not thought to have suffered any injuries.
A fire brigade spokesman said: “We got a call from the ambulance service to say a man was stuck in mud 200 metres offshore. We sent two crews - one of them, from Lancaster, who are specialists in rescues of this nature.
“Our estimation was that he was 100 metres out and they used an inflatable walkway, similar to a long airbed, to support their weight and that of the casualty.
“The RNLI hovercraft also attended and it took around half an hour to get him out.
“Fortunately there wasn’t any issue with the rising tide. That doesn’t peak until lunchtime.”