Race to rescue couple stuck waist-deep in quicksand on Cumbria beach

Couple stuck waist-deep in quicksand on Cumbria beach rescued

A elderly couple had to be rescued last week after sinking waist-deep into quicksand on a beach in Cumbria.

The couple, in the 70s, from Cheshire, were enjoying a nice stroll at Humphrey Head, near Grange-over-Sands, when they got stuck.

See also: Is this the most dangerous beach in the world?

See also: Couple stuck in 'lethal' quicksand on Cumbria beach spark emergency rescue

The rescue was a joint effort between the Bay Search & Rescue, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Liverpool HM Coastguard, and RNLI Morecambe.

The teams described the male as being in a very serious situation, with the risk of sinking up to his neck while racing against an incoming tide being a real threat.

Couple stuck waist-deep in quicksand on Cumbria beach rescued

A member of the Bay Search & Rescue team wrote on the group's Facebook page: "The team was paged at 12:10hrs today (4 September) by HM Coastguard to an elderly couple trapped in quicksand at Humphrey Head, near Grange-over-Sands and with an approaching tide due.

"Our first team arrived on scene with Hagglund 1 shortly after the RNLI Morecambe Hovercraft.

"The RNLI team quickly rescued the lady, but the gentleman was over waist deep in quicksand in a very treacherous area.

"Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service and Coastguard rescue teams from Furness and Arnside arrived on scene and were transported along with the ambulance crew to the scene by our Hagglund so they could assist.

"We deployed a 4-metre rescue path and quick sand water pump and BSAR team members worked with the RNLI crew and Coastguard crews extracting the casualty in about 20 mins.

"Helimed from North West Air Ambulance Charity attended and landed on Humphrey Head.

"The casualty was lifted out on stretcher and examined by Helimed doctor on the Hovercraft but the stretcher transfer to the helicopter was deemed too risky so the couple were flown across a channel by the Hovercraft and transferred to BSAR Hagg1, which then transported them and all the rescue crews and equipment back across the marshes and gullies to the RV point and waiting ambulance at Humphrey Head Carpark.

"A great example of multi agency working and thanks to all involved."

Couple stuck waist-deep in quicksand on Cumbria beach rescued

The couple were taken to hospital, where they were treated for hypothermia.

Speaking to the Mirror, a spokesman for Bay Search & Rescue said: "These jobs do not come around often - no one ever dies from being stuck in quicksand, but they were in real danger of drowning because the tide was coming in quickly.

"They were lucky we had all the right equipment to free them and carry them 60 feet using the hovercraft to take them to hospital."

And Coastguard spokesman Joel Harding told the BBC: "Considering they were in the sand up to their waists for over an hour, they came out of it quite well and only appeared to be suffering from mild hypothermia."

World's most dangerous beaches
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Race to rescue couple stuck waist-deep in quicksand on Cumbria beach

You don't have to go to exotic shores to find dangers lurking in deceptively calm waters. Morecambe Bay, in Lancashire, is notorious for its quicksand and fast moving tides, which took the lives of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in 2004. Visitors should only cross the sands of Morecambe Bay with an official guide.

Poor old Bikini Atoll was once just a beautiful group of islands in the South Pacific. Then, in the Forties, it became notorious for two things: providing the name for the saucy new two-piece swimsuit, and being chosen by the US as the site for nuclear testing. The amounts of radiation that still exist in the food chain have made it impossible for the Bikini Islanders to return to their homeland, although tourism has been introduced to the ship graveyard dive site in Bikini Lagoon.

An unofficial wooden beach sign at Hanakapiai on Kauai island shows more than eighty tally marks representing those who've drowned there, official reports put the number at thirty. Either way, the rip currents here are so treacherous, the sign's warning not to go in, or even anywhere near, the water is worth taking very seriously indeed.

Other beaches might have more frequent shark bite attacks, but nowhere are the sharks more aggressive and the attacks more likely to be deadly than in Port St Johns, on South Africa's southeastern coast, which has seen six fatal shark attacks in just over five years. Locals believe the bull sharks here are particularly blood-thirsty because witch-doctors make animal sacrifices on the beach, throwing the entrails into the sea.

Just when you thought Chowpatty Beach couldn't get any dirtier, a cargo ship sank off the coast in 2011, its load of 60,000 metric tons of coal polluting the water even more. Despite the layer of rubbish on the sand, locals still use the beach for their evening promenade, and even venture into the water every September during the festival of Ganesh.

Ok, as far as we know no one's ever actually been hit by an airplane while innocently sunbathing on St Martin's Maho Beach, but you only need to take a look on Youtube to see how dangerous getting up close to the jets can be as they take off from the scarily close airport. Blown away, literally.

A relaxed attitude to nudity and soft drugs may attract many travelers to the stunning hippy haven of Zipolite, but it's name - The Beach of the Dead - and the fact that there is a cliff at the far end of the beach covered in crosses to mark those who've died at the mercy of the powerful rip tides - reveals a rather scarier side of paradise.

Volusia County, Florida holds the dubious honor of being the world's shark bite capital, with 231 reported attacks from when records began in 1956 and 2008. And if the sharks don't get you, a bolt from the sky just might, as Central Florida has more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the world.

It's a cruel trick of nature that water as beautiful and clear as that surrounding Australia's Fraser Island conceals sharks, jellyfish and rip tides so dangerous you can't swim in it. Dry land's got its fair share of potentially fatal fauna too, including dingos, Funnel web spiders and pythons.

The waters off Recife are so shark-infested that even the lifeguards don't go in the sea any more, training in a nice, safe swimming pool instead. After 56 shark attacks in the last twenty years - 21 of them fatal - surfing's been banned, and if that's not enough to put you off, the fact that most of Recife's sewage runs untreated into the water, just might.

Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Lava flows onto the beach and into the sea, making the water temperature a whopping 110C.


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