Dinghy couple plucked from mud

AN elderly couple had to be rescued by helicopter after their dinghy got stuck in mud in the River Orwell.

AN elderly couple had to be rescued by helicopter after their dinghy got stuck in mud in the River Orwell.

The pair tried to land their small vessel on 'the hard' near the Butt and Oyster pub in Pin Mill at about 7.30pm on Saturday.

However they missed the right spot and ended up stranded in the mud banks along the side of the river.

A search and rescue helicopter from Wattisham Airfield army base, the Walton coastguard mud rescue team and Holbrook coastguards were dispatched to help the couple.

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It is thought the man in the dinghy had tried to push it off the mud flats and had got stuck himself in the boggy conditions.

The activities of the coastguard and helicopter were watched by a fair crowd of early-evening drinkers who watched the drama unfold from the comfort of the Butt and Oyster pub.

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Nicki Clarke, who works in the pub kitchen, said: “There were two people stuck on the mud.

“They were taken from the mud to the hard by helicopter, it can't have been more than 20 metres away.

“We heard the sirens of the coastguards and everyone came out to have a look. It was a bit of excitement but thankfully they were okay.

“It seemed a bit silly because they were so close to the hard.”

She added that the rescue operation had taken about 20 minutes.

A spokesman for Wattisham search and rescue team said the operation had been relatively straightforward and the couple were returned to the shore from where they were helped by the coastguard - however the search and rescue team were aware they had an audience as they carried out the operation.

The couple were not thought to have been hurt in the drama, and paramedics were not called to the scene.

The rescue was captured on film by one of the owners of a nearby boathouse who posted his footage online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzyeZwMZ3QI.

Were you involved in the helicopter rescue drama? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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