Women rescued from mud at Crow Point call for safety signs

Friends Sandi Wilson and Judith Mitchell wanted to thank those that came to their rescue. Friends Sandi Wilson and Judith Mitchell wanted to thank those that came to their rescue.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
7:00 AM

Pair had to be pulled from the mud as the high tides came in, as land owners warn the landscape has ‘changed considerably’.

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"But soon the mud was up to our ankles, and I could feel my wellies sinking down until it was up to my knees and I realised I was completely stuck."

Sandi Wilson

A PAIR of women who became stuck in the mud at Crow Point have spoken out about their dramatic rescue as the high spring tides came in.

Sandi Wilson, from Braunton, and Judith Mitchell, from Knowle, were walking their dogs at Crow Point on Saturday, March 1, when disaster struck.

The friends are now calling upon landowners Christie Estates to put up warning signs after becoming stuck on a route they have safely walked for more than 20 years.

“I’ve walked that way hundreds of times before and never had a problem. We parked up and went to walk across a thin strip of mud down to the sand,” said Sandi.

"That’s when the embarrassment turned to panic. The water made the mud even stickier and we knew we couldn’t wait the 15 minutes for the fire crew."

Judith Mitchell

“But soon the mud was up to our ankles, and I could feel my wellies sinking down until it was up to my knees and I realised I was completely stuck.”

The pair soon realised they needed help to get out, and called over a woman who was walking on the beach, asking her to call the emergency services.

A policeman, the coastguard and an air ambulance arrived at the scene and the women were told they would have to wait for the fire service’s special rescue team to arrive.

But things took a turn for the worse when Judith looked up and saw the incoming spring tide – the highest of the year – suddenly rushing towards them.

“The sea had been miles away and suddenly it began to gush towards us out of nowhere from the direction of Instow,” recalled Judith.

“That’s when the embarrassment turned to panic. The water made the mud even stickier and we knew we couldn’t wait the 15 minutes for the fire crew.”

With the water rising around them, the emergency services gathered together with passers by to haul the pair out of the mud using a rope.

“The mud was so viscous and I just felt panicky with the water coming up. It was difficult for them to pull us out because of the suction,” said Sandi.

Luckily the pair was uninjured and after receiving treatment for the cold and shock from paramedics they were taken home.

“Everyone was so good to us, from the emergency services to the woman who called for help and stayed with us the whole time,” said Judith.

“Since all the bad weather Crow Point has changed – it is not like it used to be and there should be proper studies done and warning signs put up.”

Raymond Coldwell, of Burrows owners Christie Estates, said the high spring tides have caused the sand dunes to breach for the first time since 1987.

“The Environment Agency is acting to repair the breach which could have serious flooding implications up the River Taw and for Braunton,” he said.

“The landscape has changed considerably because of this and I know below the waterline the mud can be dangerous.

“I will be investigating this myself and we must get this breach expedited as soon as possible.”

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