Ilfracombe’s lifeboats carried out a last minute rescue of two fishermen stranded on a rock at Woolacombe with the tide rising fast.

The RNLI were called out at 8.05pm yesterday (Wednesday, June 24) to Grunta Beach after two men were spotted stuck on a rock by a passer-by, with the tide already over their ankles.

The all-weather lifeboat, the fastest boat, was launched first, followed by the inshore lifeboat.

The sea was calm but there was a 1.5 metre swell breaking at the shoreline.

Crewman Ben Bengey donned a dry suit and when the bigger lifeboat arrived he swam the 15 metres to the casualties, carrying two life jackets.

A few moments later the inshore lifeboat arrived and was able go into the bay and pick them up.

Social distancing was not possible in the smaller boat but PPE was worn, including masks, to protect casualties and crew.

The pair were taken back to Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station, arriving at 8.45pm.

Coxswain Andrew Bengey said: “At the time we arrived the tide was still rising and the rocks where the men were stranded would have been covered by water at high tide.

“We would urge people fishing or walking around the bays and beaches here in North Devon to always look at the tide tables and surf forecasts before setting out as the tide can come in very quickly and it is easy to get caught out.

“We would also recommend that people always carry a means of calling for help. If you do see someone in difficulties call 999 and ask for the coastguard.”