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Helicopter battles Storm Bronagh in coastguard winch rescue

PUBLISHED: 12:34 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:34 21 September 2018

HM Coastguar Lowestoft and Southwold had to scramble a helicopter to aid a rescue in Walberswick. Picture: HM Coastguar Lowestoft and Southwold

HM Coastguar Lowestoft and Southwold had to scramble a helicopter to aid a rescue in Walberswick. Picture: HM Coastguar Lowestoft and Southwold

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Rescuers in a helicopter battled the high winds and lashing rain of Storm Bronagh as they winched two lost walkers to safety from a pitch-black marsh.

HM Coastguar Lowestoft and Southwold had to scramble a helicopter to aid a rescue in Walberswick. Picture: HM Coastguar Lowestoft and SouthwoldHM Coastguar Lowestoft and Southwold had to scramble a helicopter to aid a rescue in Walberswick. Picture: HM Coastguar Lowestoft and Southwold

HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold rescue teams were forced to scramble a helicopter and use a night vision and heat seeking camera to find two hikers who had become cut off by water and a very deep bog after leaving Southwold on a hike at around 11am.

The Coastguard was paged just after 6.40pm last night to reports of two people lost in the marshes near Lodge Road, Walberswick.

The fading light and sporadic phone signal meant locating the pair was becoming increasingly difficult, with a police officer unable to follow the sound of voices shouting for help.

A coastguard helicopter was scrambled to the scene to help and found the hikers in the boggy marsh using night vision and heat seeking cameras.

Rescuers in 4x4s rushed to the site illuminated by the helicopter’s spotlight, but found themselves cut off by water and deep bog once they were within 50 feet of the casualties.

To make life harder, the force of Storm Bronagh began to take hold, with rapidly changing weather forcing a change in strategy and a decision to winch the pair out of the marsh and reeds and to the waiting coastguard team.

Both walkers suffered no injuries and were only a “little exhausted” from the entire situation.

They told rescuers they had been following a map before becoming lost and confused when they found themselves in very thick and tall reeds.

After trying to find their way out, they decided to call 999 asking for help.

David Burwood, a rescue officer, said: “The teams continuously practice for situations like this and with the assistance of the Coastguard helicopter, the casualties were extracted safe and well so they could continue their holiday in the area.

“Lowestoft Coastguard would like to praise them for doing the right thing for dialling 999 and not panicking, along with the excellent team work from all of the emergency services involved to ensure they were recovered as quickly as possible.”

Suffolk Police, Suffolk Fire and Rescue, and HM Coastguard Aldeburgh also attended the incident.

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