A multi-agency rescue at Scillery Sands after two people and three dogs are cut off by the tide.

A couple and their three dogs were winched to safety by the Chivenor helicopter after getting cut off by the tide at Scillery Sands near Lynmouth.

Both Ilfracombe lifeboats were called out at 4.15pm on Thursday by the coastguard, which also sent teams from Ilfracombe and Lynmouth.

An initial plan to winch the casualties up the cliff was abandoned because of safety concerns, so with night falling and the size of waves increasing, it was decided to call the RAF search and rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor.

The lifeboat crews stood by to shine some light on a dark and dangerous rescue as the two humans and three canines were winched to safety.

“The decision to call in the rescue helicopter was, without doubt, the right one in this case,” said Stuart Carpenter, volunteer helmsman aboard the inshore lifeboat Deborah Brown II.

“We were all stunned by the incredible skill of the pilot, who managed not only to hold the helicopter almost still in the strong winds, but succeeded in doing so at a very low altitude.”