Six people rescued after getting stuck in the mud in Dorset

Specialist coastguard mud technicians spent over three hours digging people free after they got stuck in the mud in Dorset. 

HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public just after 17:00 yesterday (1st Feb) saying that they could see a person stuck waist deep in the mud near Barton-on-Sea. 

Coastguard rescue teams from Southbourne, Lymington and Poole, Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and South West Ambulance Service were all sent.
 When the coastguard teams arrived it soon became clear that more people had become stuck attempting to help. 

Specialist Coastguard mud rescue technicians, with help from Dorset Fire & Rescue’s mud team spent over three hours digging the people out.
In total six people had become stuck, with three needing to be dug free from the mud, all were recovered safe and well.

Ben Hambling, Duty Controller for HM Coastguard said:

 'If you become stuck in mud try to stay calm and spread your weight as much as possible, avoid moving and call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.If you see someone who has become stuck don’t try to rescue them yourself, without specialist equipment you can easily become stuck too, which is exactly what happened here. Remember if you see anyone in difficulty at sea or along the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'

Further information about mud: 

A significant part of the UK coastline could be categorised as soft ground. This will be mainly mud or quicksand. In either case it means that the foreshore is low lying, open to the elements, tidal and not accessible to unaided conventional vehicles. The UK Coastguard uses the generic term ‘mud rescue’ to cover mud, quicksand and any other substance on the shorelines from which a casualty needs rescuing.

Our specific techniques and practices are designed to cope with mud, sand and quicksand. Unlike mud, quicksand is not obvious to the eye and there is generally little or no warning of the transition from firm sand to quicksand. Pockets of quicksand are always on the move and will be different positions with every successive tide. People can find themselves in soft ground either when the surface is so soft that they simply sink to a point where movement becomes impossible, or they break through a layer of relatively firm mud into a soft bubble described above. Invariably, with quicksand there is generally little or no warning of transition from firm sand to quicksand.

People can also require rescue as a result of exhaustion while trying to wade through soft ground for all they may not be trapped. In all cases, the casualty may be at risk from incoming tide. The effect in both cases is that when the person tries to pull their legs free, they create a vacuum underneath their feet and around the leg which prevents escape and further movement can make the situation worse. One immediate measure that can be taken to prevent the casualty sinking further is to sit on the surface of the mud/quicksand, thus spreading the load and may reduce further risk to injured casualties.

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