Race against time to rescue man

Birnbeck Road, Weston-super-Mare

A man trapped by rocks at Weston-super-Mare has been rescued during an incident involving all four emergency services.

Firefighters along with members of HM Coastguard, Great Western Ambulance Service and Avon and Somerset Constabulary were involved in a race against time to free the man before the advancing tide peaked.

Fire crews were alerted at 16.01 on Tuesday 8 March by HM Coastguard, which had been called to the man’s aid. Specialist rescue appliances from Weston-super-Mare and Temple fire stations, including a line rescue team, were sent to the scene with a range of equipment which may have been required for the rescue. Avon Fire & Rescue Service’s rescue hovercraft was also placed on standby.

The man, aged in his early 20s, is thought to have been walking on rocks below Birnbeck Road when his left leg became trapped in a crack in the cliff face. With high tide estimated around an hour and a half away, members of all the agencies had to work together to quickly establish a rescue plan.

After paramedics administered pain relief, firefighters used a solution to lubricate the man’s leg. The lubricant is more commonly used to clear fuel spillages, but on this occasion worked effectively to allow rescuers to pull the man to safety.

He was then carried across the rocks by HM Coastguard and fire crews before being conveyed to hospital by ambulance. It’s not thought he suffered any injury in the incident.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager Steve Bagg said: “This was a great example of a number of agencies working together for a successful outcome.

“At the height of the incident we had eight appliances at the scene, bringing with them manpower and a range of specialist equipment. With the tide quickly coming in, it really was a race against time so it was vital to have any equipment we may need close at hand.

“Our backup plan was to use tools to break the rocks, which is why we had additional equipment on standby. We didn’t want to take any chances as the tide would have left the man submerged, clearly placing him at severe risk.”