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Ilfracombe lifeboat rescues seven from rocks

20:24 06 June 2014

RNLI warns people to be aware of the dangers of swiftly rising tides as two adults and five teenagers helped out near Ilfracombe.

ILFRACOMBE inshore lifeboat helped out seven people in danger of being cut off by the tide near the town during a routine training exercise last night (Thursday).

The group were spotted by a concerned passerby and the coastguard alerted the lifeboat, which rushed to the scene.

They immediately spotted the group, and saw one of the people jumping into the water from a rock approximately 10 metres high. Volunteer helmsman Stuart Carpenter brought the inshore lifeboat, Mabel Davis, towards the group, who were in fact two young adults and five teenagers.

The crew were told the group needed no assistance and were aware that the tide was on its way in. The adults said they had checked the area and their route at low tide and were certain they would have a path to safety.

But with almost four hours until high tide, the crew members were still very concerned for the group’s safety and crew member Nick Waites was put ashore to explain the situation.

He persuaded the group their best course was to allow him to escort them to the safety of Rapparee Cove.

“The rocks around the coast can be extremely dangerous,’ advises Bert Gear, volunteer deputy launching authority at Ilfracombe RNLI.

“They can be very slippery and sharp, and great care should be taken when walking across them. Jumping into the water from any height, or ‘tombstoning’, is also extremely dangerous, as rocks are often hidden under the surface and can cause serious injury or worse. It may look like fun, but the consequences can be disastrous.

“It is always important to be aware of the state of the tide, especially here in the Bristol Channel where the water level at high tide can be over 10 metres higher than at low tide, and the speed and power of the water can easily sweep you off your feet and out to sea.”

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