At 5.45 pm, Portland Coastguard received a 999 call from a young man reporting that himself and a friend were cut off by the tide at Charmouth. The men had walked past a recent landslip in the area and had become cut off by the rising spring tide behind them.
Portland Coastguard called out the Lyme Regis Coastguard rescue team who went to Charmouth Beach to assess the situation that these men were in and were able to report back to Portland MRCC. The Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat was also requested to launch.
It was considered that the best way to extract these two men from what could develop into a potentially dangerous situation was by Coastguard helicopter.
The coastguard rescue helicopter based at Portland was requested and was scrambled.
Upon arriving at Charmouth, a winchman was lowered from the aircraft and the two men were winched into the aircraft, and were then put down on a nearby landing site where they were met by waiting Coastguard rescue officers and their parents.
After dealing with this incident, another 999 call was received reporting a similar incident nearer to Lyme Regis where another two men were cut off by the tide. This time, the Coastguard rescue officers on scene assessed that the best way to recover these two boys was by an inshore lifeboat and the lifeboat was requested to launch. The lifeboat was stood down prior to arrival, when the two men managed to get themselves out by climbing out of the situation they had found themselves in.
In the first of these incidents the men were aged 19 and 22, and the second one 24 and 21. All were holidaying in the area with their parents.
These two incidents both follow a similar incident yesterday evening on the cliffs between Sandy Bay, near Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton where a grandfather and his grandson became trapped on the cliffs. The Exmouth Coastguard rescue team in this instance established their cliff rescue equipment on the 16th fairway on the clifftop and lowered a coastguard down the cliff where in very difficult terrain he managed to reach the two. This incident also required a helicopter and on this occasion a helicopter was scrambled from RNAS Culdrose to rescue the pair as the Coastguard helicopter was already on task elsewhere in the south west.
Ros Evans, Watch Manager, Portland Coastguard said:
All of these incidents could have been avoided, if people check the tides. We currently have high spring tides at the moment, and we have also had several areas where the cliff structure is changing due to the natural effects of the weather.
We would remind anyone going on a visit to the beach, to make sure they check the tide times and heed any warning signs relevant to the area they are visiting. Areas of the coast that have a history of unstable cliffs have warning signs displayed for that reason. Please make sure you if you are visiting these areas, that you read them and understand what they mean.
In you see anyone in trouble at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.