Terrified couple rescued from tide by off-duty lifeguard

Pair became stranded in the Dee Estuary when exceptionally high tide quickly surged past their waists

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A terrified Liverpool couple trapped in a fast rising tide were rescued thanks to the quick-thinking of an off-duty lifeguard.

The two adults became stranded in the Dee Estuary yesterday as water from an exceptionally high tide quickly surged past their waists.

They had been attempting to walk across to Hilbre Island but “misjudged” the incoming spring tide, HM Coastguard said.

An off-duty lifeguard from Wirral beach patrol spotted the couple in trouble and raised the alarm in a 999 call, five minutes before the couple themselves made an emergency call just before midday.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard today said that the lifeguard’s actions “probably saved their lives”.

She said: “He gave us a good five minutes head start before the call came in from the casualties – it was vital.”

After making the call, the vigilant lifeguard had considered swimming out to save the couple after becoming increasingly worried.

But he was relieved to see the West Kirby RNLI lifeboat speeding across the estuary to pluck them from the water, near to Middle Eye Island.

The survivors were then taken to the West Kirby slipway. An ambulance was requested but not required.

RNLI lifeboat operations manager Dave Henshaw today warned visitors to Hilbre Island to check the tide times before setting off.

He said: “The tide can rise faster than walking speed, particularly on the spring tides that occur on a twice monthly cycle.

“Furthermore, the incoming tide doesn’t fill the beach in a uniform manner and it will cut off people from the shore and in yesterday’s case, from the Islands too, leaving the people on the beach at the mercy of the incoming sea.”

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