Three people were rescued by the UK Coastguard from rough seas off the coast of Bude, UK after getting trapped by the rising tide on 12 August.
The Newquay-based helicopter was alerted that a person had been seen clinging to a cliff face at 21:30 hrs. The crew reached the scene eight minutes later and was then told that there were two more people at the scene.
“This was a challenging rescue for a number of reasons,” said Coastguard winch operator Ginge Steabler. “Firstly, the worrying picture of how many people were involved and their location; the close proximity of the casualties to the cliff; the weather, with an offshore wind blowing directly onto the cliff, large waves, messy surf and peaking high tide.”
As the cliff was inaccessible from the top, the helicopter’s winchman, Mark 'Spike' Hughes, was lowered down towards the casualties. When lowered to the water, Hughes had to fight against the rough sea water and was hit several times by large waves. As the first casualty was dragged out of the water, Hughes realised that only the man’s right arm was in the rescue strop. He radioed up to the chopper, informing them of the situation, and the decision was made to drop the casualty on the rapidly disappearing beach. After the other two casualties were deposited on the beach, all three were then winched into the helicopter and taken to Derriford hospital. The Coastguard said that the trio were suffering from mild hypothermia.