Men ‘extremely lucky’ after dramatic sea rescue

Blackpool RNLI (stock image)
Blackpool RNLI (stock image)
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Three men are ‘extremely lucky’ to be alive after they are believed to have followed a dog into the sea last night.

One escaped from the cold Irish Sea unaided but the other two were found clinging to the seawall close to North Pier after a rescue effort was launched at around 7.30pm yesterday, the Coastguard said yesterday.

Both RNLI lifeboats from Blackpool were scrambled, while the Coastguard, including its helicopter from North Wales, police, fire, and ambulance services were also involved.

When the rescuers arrived, they found a life ring had been thrown by pier staff towards the casualties, who had managed to climb onto the sea wall near the pier amid an incoming tide and rough waters.

They were helped to safety and given a check-up by paramedics. None were hurt, just ‘cold and wet’, The Gazette understands.

RNLI volunteer helmsman David Warburton said: “The casualties were extremely lucky.

“The outcome could have been very serious indeed had it not been for the quick thinking of staff on North Pier who threw them a life ring and phoned the Coastguard.”

Passers-by told rescuers the men had chased after a dog that bolted under North Pier when they got into difficulty, though no dog was encountered by the Coastguard.

Mark Sumner, station officer at Fleetwood Coastguard, also praised pier staff for their ‘attempts to assist the casualties until the Coastguard arrived on scene’.

He added: “If you are walking along the coast, please be aware of the sea and weather conditions.

“Sunday night was blustery, creating a rough sea state. This incident could have so easily turned into a major loss of life.”

The RNLI and Coastguard were involved in another search shortly after, after a ‘dark body-shaped objected’ was reported floating in the water close to where the men were rescued.

However, nothing was found following a two-hour search, and it is now understood the ‘body’ may have just been a large chunk of wood spotted during the earlier rescue effort.