At approximately 2pm today, Sunday 9 June, Morecambe’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew were engaged in a routine hovercraft training exercise when they were tasked by HM Coastguard to assist local coastguards; who were responding to a report that someone was stranded on a sandbank, cut off by the tide, between Grange-over-Sands and Arnside.
The inshore rescue hovercraft proceeded to the area and began to conduct a search for the reported casualty, while local coastguard team members continued to search from the shore. Eventually the hovercraft crew identified a man walking across the sands, toward Far Arnside, near Holme Island.
In response to the volunteers’ questions, the man informed them that he had just completed the Cross Bay Walk and intended to walk back across the sands to his car in Arnside; rather than return on the train. He stated that he did not believe he was in any danger but, concerned for his safety (as the tide was beginning to flood and the Kent channel was filling rapidly) the hovercraft crew persuaded the man to let them transport him to Arnside in the hovercraft. The RNLI volunteers then returned to station.
An RNLI spokesperson said: “We strongly advise people not to go out on the sands alone. The tide comes in rapidly and the numerous channels quickly fill.
“You can be cut off from the shore before you realise it. Furthermore, quicksand is an ever-present and moving hazard.
“We ask that people Respect the Water and check the time and height of tide before venturing out and ensure that they have a fully charged mobile phone, or some other means of calling for assistance, in case they get into difficulty.”