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  1. ITV Report

Dramatic RNLI rescue of four people cut off by the tide in North Devon

The group had to be winched to safety after getting into difficulty at Combe Martin, North Devon. Credit: Charles Ford / North Devon

Four people had to be winched to safety by a helicopter after getting cut off by the tide in North Devon.

The group - made of up of two men and two women - got stuck at Combe Martin, near Ilfracombe, on Sunday (March 8) afternoon.

The RNLI, Coastguard and police all took part in the operation to rescue them.

The group were cut off by the incoming tide. Credit: Charles Ford / Devon Live

Eyewitness Charles Ford, who photographed the rescue, said he called the emergency services after hearing members of the group “scream for help”.

I was witness to a coastguard rescue at Combe Martin in North Devon, at 3.10pm this afternoon.

I was walking down by the seafront as I often do, I had my camera with me.

Four people got trapped by incoming tide, and I had to call the coastguard on the emergency number, [after] witnessing them scream for help.

– Charles Ford

Mr Ford said lifeboats arrived at the scene within 30 minutes of his call - but the rescue operation lasted more than an hour and a half.

He said the waves were too big for the lifeboat to access the group, who had to be winched to safety by a Coastguard helicopter.

The RNLI lifeboat was unable to access the group because of large waves. Credit: Charles Ford / Devon Live

The pictures taken by Mr Ford showed how the group was hit by large waves as they were flown away.

"The helicopter skilfully winched all four to safety, despite rough seas," he concluded.