Girl rescued from between a rock and a hard place

Coastguards supported the operation (Photo: Lee Bell/Aberdyfi Coastguard Rescue Team)

It was a race against tide and time for HM Coastguard and fellow emergency services to rescue a young child who was trapped in rock armour at Tywyn beach in North Wales.

HM Coastguard received the 999 call from a member of the public at around 3.15pm on Sunday 21 April and quickly dispatched multiple emergency services teams and specialists to safely rescue the child from a dangerous and challenging situation.  

The youngster was stuck between the large, heavy boulders and the tide was coming in quickly. 

Skilled teams in HM Coastguard’s Holyhead Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) coordinated the rescue.  

It involved Aberdyfi and Barmouth Coastguard Rescue Teams, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, the Welsh Ambulance Service, air ambulance doctors and assistance from a local excavator. North Wales Police was also in support at the scene. 

The child was extracted safe and well in a delicate operation that took nearly three hours, with more than 30 expert rescuers working closely together. 

It was a big relief for the teams and a prime example of teamwork in action, said Harriet McCann, Maritime Operations Team Leader at Holyhead MRCC. 

She explained: “This rescue was challenging for everyone. It was definitely time-critical as it was only a matter of hours before the tide was due to reach the rocks. 

“Without exception, everyone pulled together in a textbook example of teamwork. There was a massive sense of relief when the young child was freed and able to go home after a very scary experience. 

“It’s why we do what we do and we’d like to say a huge thank you to our emergency services colleagues for the incredible teamwork which resulted in the lifesaving rescue. That’s the best feeling of all and a moment that will stay in our memories.” 

The child was freed using specialist machinery to move the rock armour, working closely with medical and other services at the scene. 

Rocks and safety 

  • Rock armour consists of large boulders for protection against the sea and can be dangerous. 
  • It’s easy to slip and become trapped.  
  • Always follow the local safety signs and avoid walking on rock armour if possible. 
  • If you see anyone in difficulty at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.  


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