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Stranded island visitors ignored warning and waded across

PUBLISHED: 16:16 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:43 27 May 2020

Scolt Head Island. Pic: Mike Page.

Scolt Head Island. Pic: Mike Page.

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A group of people who were stranded on Scolt Head Island had ignored advice and waded across the rising tide.

The RNLI rescue hovercraft, based at Hunstanton. Picture: Clifford HicksThe RNLI rescue hovercraft, based at Hunstanton. Picture: Clifford Hicks

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.

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

The rescue happened just after 5pm on May 25 (Bank Holiday Monday).

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.

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

Mr Needham said the wading across was dangerous because of the strength of the current that filled the channel between the mainland and the island.

He said: “It’s a strong old current, and there’s a large volume of water that flows into the channel. It fills all the marshes as well.

“We’ve had casualties there before, on both the ebbing and the flooding tides.”

One of the wardens said on the Hunstanton Coastguard’s Facebook post about the incident: “I got everyone off..by 4.45pm, the coastguard also left as everyone was on the mainland side of the channel.

“All the people rescued crossed after the tide had turned, many wading in waist deep water.

“It is only May and we have another three months of this madness!”

A spokesman for HM Coastguard said: “All were taken ashore and were given appropriate safety advice.”

Visitors are advised to check the tide times if they intend to cross over to the island by foot.


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