Tuesday, 30 June 2015
An afternoon swim went horribly wrong for a couple from Sutton Coldfield when they tried to swim in the Bristol Channel
Just after lunch Milford Haven Coastguard informed Weston-super-Mare lifeboat that there were reports of two people hanging on to the struts of Birnbeck Pier and screaming for help. The crew assembled and launched the D Class lifeboat Anna Stock within a few minutes.
Birnbeck Pier connects Birnbeck Island to the mainland. The Island used to be the home of Weston-super-Mare RNLI volunteers. The pier is now too dangerous for the volunteers to use so a temporary station has been established at Knightstone Causeway. Thus as soon as the lifeboat was launched from Knightstone Harbour the pier came into sight. Shortly after, two people could be seen standing on some of the horizontal struts with the tide flowing very rapidly around their feet.
The lifeboat approached and the crew warned the couple not to move in case they lost their footing when they would be carried away by the tide.
The lifeboat was manoeuvred close to them and they were assisted into the boat. They were then carried back to Knightstone Harbour, checked for damage and then released to carry on with their holiday.
While the lifeboat was out on service the shore crew noticed a woman crying because she was up to her knees in mud and unable to move. Two of the shore crew walked through the mud and helped her onto firm ground. She was also from Sutton Coldfield and was very distressed and very tired.
Terry Wells, the helmsman of the Weston D Class lifeboat said;’ The speed of the tide running under Birnbeck Pier could have put these two into serious danger. Although it is very hot we do not advise swimming in the Bristol Channel unless you keep well in to the beach or you know the waters very well.’
Attached photograph shows the couple under the pier awaiting rescue.
A video is available at