A few weeks later the man in question, David Fairclough a dentist from the Waterloo Dental Centre in Crosby came to New Brighton lifeboat station to meet and say thanks to the hovercraft crew members who were involved in getting him out of the Mersey mud. During his visit he was given a tour of the station and a close up inspection of the hovercraft.
Afterwards, Hovercraft Senior Commander Graham Lowe, Mike Jones and Andy Liston who were three of the four members of the crew from the rescue, heard David tell his story 'I was on the Waterloo end of the beach that I have visited many times before, just taking a few photographs of shipping, when walking on what appeared to be firm ripply sand. I took one step and before I knew it both legs were stuck firmly in mud. It must have been just a light covering of sand hiding treacherous mud underneath. I quickly realised that I was well and truly stuck and phoned 999 with my mobile. Soon on the scene were the local RNLI Lifeguards and Coastguard teams who tried to get to me but couldn't get close enough safely. They put in a call for New Brighton's hovercraft which was able to pull up alongside me, they put me on special mats and gradually managed to free me from mire for which I am eternally grateful. On reaching the awaiting ambulance and paramedics for a check out about 30 mins had elapsed since I became trapped. Following a comprehensive injury check up they told me that I was within point one of a degree from hypothermia which was scary considering it wasn't that cold a day. After discharged and getting home it took me ages to get the mud off, clothes were a mess and my shoes were a write off plus I had aches in my legs for two days afterwards.'
When asked about how he felt about the experience with hindsight he responded ' Looking back I was very embarrassed at the time and took quite a bit of stick from my pals. I realise now how important it is to move on and talk about what happened to me as it could easily happen to anyone. I am just glad that there were the right people there to help me and I have nothing but respect for the emergency services especially as those who got me out were volunteers. If anyone can learn from my experience thats great, its important to read and take note of any warning signs in an area and even when you have been there many times before, things can change or your maybe your luck just runs out'
Hovercraft Senior Commander Graham Lowe said ' We really enjoyed meeting David again, although we get many letters of thanks we don't often see the people again. During the rescue we put David on a mud rescue platform from which he could push down while Mike and I gradually released his legs. When stuck in mud like this its surprising how quickly the bodies heat is just drained away and the pressures put on the limbs, so it is vital to get help quickly. If you do get stuck in mud the sooner that you can raise the alarm the better, phone 999 and ask for Coastguard or try and attract peoples attention by shouting and waving arms. If they do come to your aid warn them not to come close but to get help, we don't want to compound the situation'
He added 'Many people visit the Sefton coast area and are not always fully aware of the dangers of that part of the coast. There are extensive areas of mud and soft sand, in particular the area around the River Alt catches many people out plus there are many potential dangers where the Gormley Statues are located. In David's case the tide was well out so he was not in immediate danger from that, however when it comes in it does so very quickly and its easy to get cut off. If visiting the area, no matter how well you know it, please be aware of the tide times and take note of any warnings signs displayed on the beach. We are lucky in this area to have one of the four Hovercraft in RNLI service and its a real lifesaver particularly with the extensive sand and mud banks of the Mersey and Wirral coasts as it can go where no other craft can. Its a last resort so its best to take care not to get into difficulty in the first place'.
Notes to Editors
1] David Fairclough and Rescuers - left to right Mike Jones, David Fairclough, Graham Lowe, Andy Liston
2] Hovercraft Senior Commander Graham Lowe and David Fairclough
3] Hovercraft Crew taken after rescue on 2nd June - left to right Andy Liston, Graham Lowe, Mike Jones, Paul Barlow
4] Hovercraft H-005 Hurley Spirit returning to New Brighton across Liverpool Bay after the rescue on 2nd June
Original News Release:
In January the station celebrated its 150th Anniversary during which time they have saved 1235 lives. Station website: http://www.newbrightonlifeboat.org.uk/
RNLI Media Contacts
For more information please contact Bob Warwick, RNLI New Brighton Volunteer Press Officer on 0151 200 7965 - mobile 0784 765 8922 - email email@example.com or Alison Levett, RNLI Media Relations Manager North on 07786 668912