Hovercraft rescues trapped man

Weston-super-Mare beach

A man who had become stuck in mud at Weston-super-Mare beach has been rescued by crews on Avon Fire & Rescue Service's hovercraft.

Firefighters were called in the early hours after reports that a man was missing on the beach at the seaside town. Crews from Weston-super-Mare and Avonmouth fire stations joined members of the police, HM Coastguard and the ambulance service in the search for the missing man, aged in his 30s.

Firefighters launched the rescue hovercraft, based at Weston-super-Mare Fire Station, to assist in the operation. Crews on board the craft used a thermal imaging camera in an effort to locate the man in the darkness. Following a search lasting around 45 minutes the missing male was found, partially trapped in mud, around a quarter of a mile offshore from the Grand Pier.

Firefighters used sand lances to inject air into the mud around the trapped casualty allowing him to be freed. He was immediately wrapped in thermal blankets and brought back to the shore, where he was treated by paramedics for the effects of hypothermia. Fortunately the tide was out at the time of the incident.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging members of the public to follow the advice from warning signs and not to venture onto unsafe areas of sand or mud.