A Text Book Rescue

At 13.04 hrs on Monday 9th March 2009 watchkeepers Neil Mathewson and Ross Patterson spotted two walkers heading out towards Devils Bridge. As the Causeway was predicted to flood at 13.45 hrs Neil and Ross decided to warn the walkers not to carry on going out but to start their return to the mainland. Ross went outside and used the loud hailer, but in the strong wind the walkers were unable to hear the siren.

At 13.08 hrs Neil warned the Coastguard, using the normal telephone number, that there was a possibility that we could have an incident on our hands.

At 13.40 hrs the walkers were seen to be crossing the middle neck on their return. With the causeway close to flooding it was clear that they were not going to make the crossing in time so the Coastguard was alerted, this time using the 999 service.

Ross took the loud hailer, and in an effort to overcome the strong wind went down to the bottom of the cliff.  At 13.55 hrs, by which time the Rhossili Cliff Rescue Team was at the scene, the couple arrived at the causeway and considered trying to cross. Ross alerted them with the loud hailer and warned them to remain on the island.

At 13.58 hrs the Horton Inshore Lifeboat, which had been scrambled, advised  the Coastguard that the sea was too rough for it to continue to Worms Head. The Coastguard immediately called for the assistance of SAR Helicopter 169 from Chivenor. 

At 14.30 hrs 169 arrived on scene and the winch man was lowered onto Worms Head to brief the walkers who were then winched into the helicopter. The winch man followed carrying the walkers rucksacks. At 14.40 the two walkers were safely landed on the fairway close to the NCI Look Out. After a short debriefing with the Cliff Rescue Team the couple called in at the Look Out to thank the watchkeepers for looking after their safety.

Just to show that they were forgiven, the two were given a lift back to the Worms Head Hotel in the Coastguard 4X4!