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Child among five rescued after search for group lost on Norfolk marshes

PUBLISHED: 08:37 31 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 31 May 2020

A group had to be rescued after getting lost on Morston Marshes. Pic: Mike Page

A group had to be rescued after getting lost on Morston Marshes. Pic: Mike Page

©Mike Page, All Rights Reserved

Five people, including a child were rescued after getting lost on marshes off the Norfolk coast late at night.

The coastguard rescue teams from Wells and Hunstanton joined Norfolk police in the search for the four adults and child on Morston Salt Marshes.

The coastguard was called to help in hunt for the group at just after 10.30pm on Saturday, May 30.

The police drone was sent up and members of the coastguard teams scoured the marshes for the missing people.

They were eventually found and were escorted off the marshes to Blakeney harbour.

Chris Hardy, Wells Lifeboat operations manager, said: “We launched the inshore lifeboat (ILB) on the incoming tide and proceeded towards Blakeney, and police put a drone up. One of our crew had a thermal imaging camera, and the group was located near Morston channel.

“The drone hovered overhead guiding the Coastguard team in. We got within a couple of hundred yards of them, but there was no water in the creek, so they were OK.”

Mr Hardy said the group had been on the marshes for “five or six hours”.

He added: “The Coastguard ascertained they were able to walk off the marshes, guided by them. We made sure they left the scene all OK.

“It’s concerning that people were on the marshes in the dark - they were very fortunate that they could call 999 and give an approximate position of where they were.”

Mr Hardy said the incident should serve as a warning to others.

He said: “All I can say is, pay attention to the ideal information and be aware of local knowledge.

“Make sure you’ve got a plan to retrace your steps before the tide comes in.

“It’s common sense to people who live on the coast, but clearly with a lot of people wanting to be out and about exercising and getting a bit of freedom from the lockdown, common sense is in short supply.”

The rescue came just a few days after a group of 19 people became stranded on Scolt Head Island and had to be helped off.

The RNLI’s Hunstanton-based rescue hovercraft and on-shore teams from the Coastguard’s Wells, Cley and Hunstanton stations were called in after 14 adults, five children and four dogs got stuck on the barrier island on Bank Holiday Monday.

That group had been warned by Natural England wardens - who manage the island - that the tide was coming in and they should not try to cross over.

The group had to be ferried back to the shore at Brancaster by the hovercraft, where they were seen to by the Coastguard.

Geoff Needham of Hunstanton RNLI said he was disappointed at the actions of the group, which put themselves and the rescue teams in danger.

Mr Needham said: “The wardens were satisfied everyone was off the island as the tide was about to turn, and then this group turned up 30 minutes later.

“Apparently they thought to cross after the warden had cleared them all off.

“They went on as the tide was flooding, wading waist deep.”


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