WATCH: Dramatic night-vision footage shows children rescued by coastguard
PUBLISHED: 19:01 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:16 11 March 2020
See the moment two children are airlifted to safety by the coastguard after getting stuck in mud off the coast of Essex.
Peter Jones anxiously waited while rescuers worked for three hours to save Tily and her friends, two other girls and a boy, after they got stuck in mud between Wrabness and Parkeston.
Two of the children, Tily and one of the other girls, managed to free themselves but their friends had to be rescued by helicopter.
The alarm was raised by Tily when she managed to call Essex Police with just 2% of her battery remaining in her mobile phone.
Police, firefighters, coastguards and paramedics joined forces to mount the rescue operation in a battle against the clock and the tide.
Tily's father, Peter Jones, said his 'heart stopped' when he got the call from police that evening.
'I was getting concerned because Tily wasn't home yet, she had told me she had gone to the park with some friends and she's always back when she says she will be,' said Mr Jones.
'By 8.20pm I was very worried, then the police called - when you get that your heart stops, everything runs through your mind.
'Within five minutes the police were at my door to pick me up.'
At the scene, Mr Jones said he was surrounded by police cars, fire engines and the coastguard helicopter overhead, rescuing the two remaining 12-year-olds stuck in the mud as the tide came in.
Mr Jones added: 'You don't realise how little time it takes for a situation to turn from fun to life threatening until this happens.
'The emergency services were all so hard-working and so committed, I can't speak highly enough of them.
'At first I was cross but then I was really proud of Tily for how well she handled the situation.
'There might be some grounding but I think that the ordeal was punishment enough.'
A spokesman for HM Coastguard said: 'Coastguard rescue teams from Felixstowe and Holbrook were sent, along with two RNLI lifeboats from Harwich and a coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd.
'Thankfully two children were able to get back to safety themselves and the other two were airlifted to safety by the helicopter. All were passed into the care of the East of England Ambulance Service.'
The Harwich RNLI also sent two lifeboats to the rescue.
Councillor Zoe Fairley, ward councillor for Stour Valley, praised the emergency services for their 'fantastic response'.
She said: 'The coast is a very dangerous place if you don't know the risks. But the emergency services did an absolutely amazing job.'
The HM Coastguard said: 'We would strongly advise avoiding areas of mud, they are extremely unpredictable and can trap a person beyond the point of being able to self-recover.
'If you see somebody in difficulty in the mud, do not attempt to rescue them yourself, but instead dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'