“WE were minutes away from death.” Those are the words of a coastguard who today relived a dramatic rescue at sea.
Station officer Adam Bradbury was part of a team launched from Knott End to save a helplessly trapped woman who was facing an agonising death in the coastal mud of Morecambe Bay.
Mr Bradbury was one of 10 crewmen called to the scene after the 20-year-old woman sent out a distress call while she struggled to free herself from the rising tide and sinking sand, 200 yards from dry land.
A hovercraft was scrambled from Morecambe and the crew from Knott End were mobilised from the shoreline wearing waders.
The crews were only able to locate the stranded woman after she activated the torch on her mobile phone at 6.20pm on Tuesday.
He said: “Our pagers went off so we were sent up to for the female stuck in the mud. The young lady was cut off and stuck in a gully so we had to crawl across through the mud to get to her, calm her down and stabilise her.
“The tide came in that quickly that the water was already round her waist by the time we got there. It was very hazardous, the mud was sinking around us and it was dark and dangerous.
“It was very concerning and the tide was literally against us.
“We were minutes away from death, I was quite worried as to whether we’d get out in time.
“At this point the hovercraft managed to save the day because we were getting quite tired.”
The trapped woman was dressed in ordinary work clothes and how she managed to become cut off by the rising tide is still unknown.
Mr Bradbury said: “She was relatively calm initially, but she started to shake and get really upset. She was wearing the sort of clothes you’d wear to work apart from her wellies.”
Morecambe Bay is notorious as an area which treacherous due to the soft sand and mud as well as a quickly rising tide.
Mr Bradbury said: “The sand around Morecambe is getting a lot softer and it’s going to be more dangerous.
“I would urge the public if they get themselves in difficulties to get into the coastguard straight away.”
The woman was taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia following the incident.
An RNLI spokeswoman said: “It was critical they got her out pretty quickly.
“She’d had the presence of mind to us her phone as a torch to get them to her.”