Wirral coastguard warning after six call-outs in four hours

IF you're planning a trip to the beach this weekend check the tide times and keep a close eye on your family …

That's the warning from coastguards who attended six emergency call-outs in just four hours on Wirral's coastline.

A stranded family of four, a group of 70 people at risk of being cut-off by the incoming tide and reports of a possible inflatable in the water drifting with nobody on board, which turned out to be floating balloons, were among the missions dealt with Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team on Thursday.

Just before midday, they were called to rescue a number of people on North Bank cut off and unaware of the incoming tide.

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New Brighton Lifeboat also attended and advised the people how get safely ashore. The people were met by Coastguard Rescue Officers who gave safety advice in relation to tides.

A number of people on the busy beach were offered advice in relation to the use of inflatables.

As the team were about to leave New Brighton at around 12.30pm, they were alerted to a possible inflatable in the water drifting with nobody on board.

Wanting to ensure that nobody was in the water having fallen off, New Brighton Lifeboat were requested to proceed back to investigate.

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Luckily, it turned out to be false alarm. The reported inflatable was just a bunch of birthday balloons.

At 1.30pm, the team was mobilised to multiple 999 calls reporting a number of people in danger of being cut off by the incoming tide near Leasowe Lighthouse. New Brighton Lifeboat also mobilised to the incident.

Arriving at the scene, they saw multiple groups on the sand bank unaware of the danger they were in.

Two coastguard rescue officers in water rescue gear crossed the gulley to a family of four including two children to get them to safety.

Hoylake Hovercraft was requested to attend the incident.

All casualties were brought on board the Hovercraft and transported to the safety of Dovepoint slipway in Meols to be given safety advice regarding tides.

Hoylake beach was still very busy therefore it was agreed that the hovercraft would carry out a sweep of the shoreline to make sure that everyone using the beach was safe.

At 3pm, the team were called to back up Hoylake Hovercraft in West Kirby who had spotted multiple people cut off by the tide and in danger of being cut off between Hilbre Island, Middle Eye and Little Eye.

Approximately 70 people were advised about the incoming tide and 4 people were rescued by the Hovercraft from dangerous terrain.

At 3.40pm whilst in West Kirby, the team were alerted to a missing 11 year old child.

Coastguard Rescue Officers commenced a search whilst the RNLI Hovercraft Crew gathered vital information from the worried parents. Luckily, within 10 minutes of being notified, the child was located by Coastguard Rescue Officers and reunited with her relieved parents.

As the team returned to station jus, 999 calls came in to the Coastguard Control Room reporting two jet skis driving erratically and endangering lives in the area of the south side of West Kirby Marine Lake.

The team proceeded and liaised with worried members of the public. Luckily with no injuries reported, Merseyside Police were passed details and the team could return to station.

Reflecting on what was one of its buisiest days in a long time Michael Buratti, station officer for Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team said: "I would like to thank the coastguard rescue officers and RNLI Crews who spent the day attending several incidents.

"I would also like to thank the staff at Holyhead Coastguard Operations Centre who took a large number of 999 calls today and dealt with many incidents through the day.

"There were lots of members of the public involved in the incidents today who were not local and did not know the area including tide times.

"We would urge everyone who is visiting the coast to check tides times, keep a close eye on your family, don't use inflatables and in the worst case if you do get into trouble or see someone in difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

"We would also remind the public that Hilbre Island remains closed by the Local Authority".

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