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Search and rescue training exercise for emergency crews at Norfolk beach

HM Coastguard's new All Terrain Vehicle was used at the multi-agency exercise in Holkham. Pictures: David Bale

HM Coastguard's new All Terrain Vehicle was used at the multi-agency exercise in Holkham. Pictures: David Bale

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A search and rescue training exercise involving a fallen injured horse and rider was simulated in Norfolk to prepare emergency crews in the event of a potential incident.

HM Coastguard's new All Terrain Vehicle was used at the multi-agency exercise in Holkham. Pictures: Julia GoslingHM Coastguard's new All Terrain Vehicle was used at the multi-agency exercise in Holkham. Pictures: Julia Gosling

The multi-agency event was led by HM Coastguard with other agencies involved including Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk police, Natural England, and the National Trust. It involved the rescue of a trapped rider from beneath an injured horse on the Holkham Estate.

The staged rescue was designed to test and replicate the response capabilities of the primary responders that would be available and called upon in that area.

As part of the training exercise, HM Coastguard utilised its new all-terrain vehicle and the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service used its specialist horse dummy provided by the specialist large animal rescue team.

Norfolk police also used the opportunity to launch its new drone, which was provided by Felicity Pugh, the wife of Peter Pugh, 75, who HM Coastguard and Norfolk police rescued from the Titchwell marshes earlier this year.

Multi-agency exercise in Holkham. Pictures: Julia GoslingMulti-agency exercise in Holkham. Pictures: Julia Gosling

Anthony Garbutt, senior coastguard operations officer, said: “The exercise was a great success and we’re grateful for all the emergency services support and special assets based locally that attended.

“We are very grateful to the Holkham Estate for allowing us to use their location for the exercise. It’s clear from the training that this area is very well supported by specialist local emergency services.

“If there’s one big message to come out of the event it’s that people need to let someone know where they are going and what time they’ll be home so that an alarm can be raised if they don’t return on time. This way, the appropriate resources can launch a search quickly if anyone is missing along the coast of North Norfolk.”

As reported, Mr Pugh became separated from a family walk on Brancaster beach at 5.10pm on June 16, prompting a huge rescue operation.

Sgt Danny Leach from Norfolk Constabulary’s drone unit piloted the drone that first spotted Mr Pugh stuck in dense reed beds and marshland 21 hours later, on Sunday, June 17.

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