News release text
A woman who was rescued by firefighters and RNLI crews after sinking in mud at Reculver Bay has thanked the emergency services and is warning others to be wary when out on coastal walks.
54-year-old Julie-Ann White from Beltinge was out walking her dog on Sunday morning (16 March) when she decided to go across the beach area. She explained what happened next: “It all looked fairly firm so I took a couple of steps which were fine but then on the third step, I suddenly started sinking and the more I wriggled, the worse it got.”
After about 15 minutes of struggling, when she had sunk down to the level of her thighs, Julie-Ann realised she need to raise the alarm and called 999 at 11.30am. She said: “The fire engines were here within 10 minutes and then they needed to assess the situation as they couldn’t see how they could get their equipment down to where I was so the RNLI brought them closer in a boat and they used their mud paths to get to me.”
Once crews had dug Julie-Ann out, she was taken to safety where she was checked by the waiting ambulance crews for the possible effects of hypothermia but was given the all-clear.
She added: “I’m really quite embarrassed about it now but I’m so very grateful to all the emergency services as they were brilliant; I’d been there for about an hour altogether and it could have been a lot worse. Thankfully I had my phone on me or it’s possible I wouldn’t have been spotted because although it was a sunny day, there didn’t seem to be anyone about in that area. Clearly I’d warn others not to even try going out on ground like that because you never can be sure.”
At 3.00pm that same day, firefighters returned to the same spot and worked with MCA coastguard to free two women and a dog from mud. It is believed they had got stuck after they waded in to rescue the dog. Fire crews in dry suits used mud paths and swift rescue equipment to rescue both casualties, who were treated for shock and the effects of the cold by ambulance crews at the scene.
Community Safety Manager Charlie Smith said: “We would urge people to be extra careful when they are out walking, especially in tidal areas and where the ground is still soft from the recent wet weather. As these incidents show, it is very easy to get stuck in mud and very difficult to get yourself out. I would advise dog-owners to avoid putting their lives at risk to rescue their pets and instead call 999 to get assistance from trained professionals.”