Sunday, August 04, 2013

Trapped couple refuse rescue at cliffs

Reported by Dave Cocks
Deputy Launching Authority & Lifeboat Press Officer at Redcar.

A couple trapped by the rising tide at the base of cliffs at Saltburn declined to be rescued by RNLI lifeboats on Saturday 3 August 2013.

The man and woman were seen to be stranded at Penny Hole, a notorious cut-off point at the bottom of Huntcliff, by RNLI lifeguards based at Saltburn.

Both RNLI lifeboats from Redcar launched at 2pm, approximately half an hour before high tide, and quickly located the middle-age couple.

The smaller inshore lifeboat was taken into the cliff base near to the couple’s location in preparation for the rescue. However when a crew member went ashore, the man and woman declined to be rescued into the lifeboat.

It is believed that the couple were walking along the base of the cliffs and had misjudged the time needed to get clear of the incoming tide.

Dave Cocks from Redcar RNLI said: ‘Our crew were a little taken aback when the stranded pair declined our offer of rescue. The gentleman was confident of his own knowledge of tides and was quite happy to sit it out until the tide fell back again.

‘We gave the couple advice about the risks from falling rocks and, after consulting with the coastguards coordinating the rescue, the lifeboats were stood down.

‘They had a picnic with them, which was probably just as well bearing in mind it was going to be at least two hours before there was any chance of them getting to a place of safety.’

Dave Cocks added: ‘There are always two risks to consider when walking close to the bottom of any cliffs. The first is being cut off by the tide and the second is being injured by falling rocks. There have been incidents elsewhere in the country where a section of cliff has collapsed with fatal consequences.’

The lifeboats returned to Redcar while lifeguards continued to monitor the couple's safety.

image of the Redcar RNLI inshore lifeboat at Huntcliff. Credit: Dave Cocks

Redcar lifeboat station has been operating since 1802
Redcar currently operates a B-class lifeboat named Leicester Challenge III, paid for by the people of Leicester, and an IB1-class lifeboat named Jacky Hunsley, paid from the legacy of the late Jacqueline Hunsley of Leeds.
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RNLI media contacts:
For more information please telephone Dave Cocks, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07894 558 483, or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789;

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