February 12, 2018
New warning as five are rescued from car lost to incoming tide at Brean

A new beach safety warning has been issued after a trip to Brean beach on Sunday turned into a nightmare when this car was engulfed by the incoming tide.

Crews from Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards and BARB Search & Rescue were called to Brean beach at 11.55am after the beachwarden initially raised the alarm.

The five people inside were led to safety, but the vehicle could not be saved before the rapidly-incoming tide submerged it.

Coastguards have issued a new warning, urging motorists to stay well clear of soft sand and mud, and to check the tide times.

Beachwarden Dave Furber said: "They had driven down the beach to the tide line to try and see the sea. When they hit the softer part of the beach the car's wheels sank into the sand and mud and the vehicle became trapped."

The beachwarden contacted the Coastguard, and two teams from Burnham Coastguard and BARB Search & Rescue were sent to help.

"Two of the Coastguards made their way out to the vehicle to help the family of five inside safely back up the beach. The tide was coming in fast and the vehicle was such a long way that it was going to be difficult to pull it free in time."

BARB's Spirit of Lelaina II rescue hovercraft flew to the scene and the team assessed the viability of winching the vehicle free. "Due to its angle and its distance from the hard sand it wasn’t safe for us to pull it free," said a BARB spokesman.

A local farmer used a tractor to try and reach it, but he also found the terrain too difficult and had to abandon attempts, as pictured below.

"The vehicle was left to the incoming tide as this was safetest option and all persons were out of danger."

Dave Welland, Burnham Coastguard Officer, said: "The car's driver, who is from Bristol, said that he'd driven on several beaches where the sand was firm and assumed that all beaches were therefore the same."

"At Brean, there is only 3-4 inches of thin crust of sand before it becomes mud. What may be firm to walk on will not be hard enough to drive across."

"This car will now have two tides over it and the owner will face an expensive recovery bill from a private company."

"Thankfully they only lost their car and we don't have five casualties."

It's the third vehicle this year that BARB has been called to on local beaches. Two campervans were rescued in separate incidents on Berrow beach last month, as reported here.

Pictured: The stranded vehicle in the sea and, above, the tractor and crews at the scene (photos Burnham Coastguard / BARB)


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