US tourist trapped on UK beach calls 911 - and is rescued

When you're heading off on holiday, there's one number you should memorise - the emergency services.

American holidaymaker and marine biologist Liz Francis found that out the hard way when she got trapped on a beach in Somerset - and had to call the American emergency services on 911, because she didn't know the British equivalent.

Amazingly, operators in Washington then put her through to British police who then sent rescuers to save her.

The 68-year-old had been taking pictures of sea anemones at the base of a cliff in Brean Down, Somerset, when she was cut off by the incoming tide.

She lost her way back to the main footpath, twisted her ankle and then found herself trapped by the incoming sea.

Ms Francis, who's been enjoying a month-long holiday in the UK, called 911 instead of 999, and kicked off an international rescue mission.

Two lifeboats from Weston were launched to locate her, but as she was out of their reach, Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards sent a cliff climber down on to the rocks to rescue her.

She told the Daily Mail: 'I didn't know the emergency number here in the UK, so dialled 911 - the American emergency number - and fortunately got diverted through to the police who put me in touch with the coastguard.

'I was shaking with worry because I knew I'd put myself in a potentially life-threatening position.

'I was so relieved when I saw the climber being lowered down to me. He was so calm - I knew I was in safe hands.'

Burnham Coastguard Officer Ian Jefferies said: 'With guidance from the crew of the Weston lifeboats below, we lowered our cliff technician down to the casualty and attached a harness to her before hoisting her up the cliffs.

'She was checked over and it was quickly established that her ankle injury did not require an ambulance.

'She was fortunate that we were able to carry out the rescue before the tide reached her.'

Ms Francis added: 'I am very grateful for the help of the coastguards and lifeboats, who were so skilled. I had checked the tide times, but got into difficulty when I lost my way.'

Related articles

Hotel review: The Bath Priory, Bath, Somerset

Ten of the best treehouse hotels
Read Full Story