RESCUE teams spent more than two hours prising free a 15-year-old boy trapped up to his knees in the vice like grip of the Morecambe Bay sands.

The incident, which occurred just off Red Bank Farm, Bolton-le-Sands, comes just one week after the Gazette relaunched its Safety on the Sands campaign.

"He was quarter of a mile from the shore in a gully in a quicksand patch," said senior coastal operations officer for HM Coastguard Area Cumbria and Morecambe Bay, Adam Bradbury. "But with the tide going out, the mud was setting almost like concrete. We had a long window but the sand was getting harder and drier."

Mr Bradbury said that it was 'not an easy rescue' and there was concern the teenager could have suffered from hypothermia or that the compacted sand around his legs could have affected his circulation.

He said the mud had set very hard adding: "To pierce that surface takes a lot of energy."

A family member had alerted the UK coastguard at 2pm on Saturday (March 11) that the teenage boy was stuck.

Morecambe Coastguard & Morecambe RNLI Hovercraft were first on the scene, followed by Arnside & Knott End Coastguard teams who all whom worked together to release the teenager.

Mr Bradbury said there was between six to eight people 'in the danger zone' at the rescue. They managed to free the boy by 4pm, using specialist mud rescue equipment.

He was checked over by the North West Ambulance Service and transferred to the helicopter landing site on shore using the hover craft.

He was then flown to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary by the coastguard helicopter for further treatment which Mr Bradbury said he believed to be precautionary.

Two days prior to the Bolton-le-Sands incident, the Furness Coastguard attended to a man who had become stuck up to his waist in mud.

Trevor Stanley Dickinson had fallen off his motor-cross bike off Askam Pier and although rescued by a friend, a rising tide meant that the gully filled up within minutes after he was pulled out.


The team quickly responded and were on the scene just as Mr Dickinson managed to escape from the mud with assistance from a friend.

As they checked the casualty over for any injuries, the tide quickly rose and filled the gully within minutes. He was then handed over the to the care of the North West Ambulance Service.

Mr Dickinson said that he would like to thank the rescue teams who saved him as well as friend Daniel Taylor for raising the alarm.

"I like going out on my bike but did not realise how dangerous it is on the estuary," he said. "If these people weren't around it could have been a different story all together."

Duddon Inshore Rescue helped in the recovery of the motor-cross bike to prevent any risk from the owner trying to collect it at a later date.

Last week The Westmorland Gazette relaunched its Safety in the Sands campaign, prompted by the rescue of a boy off the coast at Arnside and the upcoming tourist season.

Stuck in the mud, the boy was fortunately self-rescued but the incident sparked fresh warnings about the danger of the sands.

"We have suddenly seen a dramatic increase of mud and quicksand incidents within Morecambe Bay and South Cumbria," Mr Bradbury said. "We urge the general public and visitors to enjoy the beach but to check the weather, tides, read warning signs, avoid gullies, and not to venture into wet muddy areas.

"Bait diggers and those wishing to go further out from the sea wall should seek local knowledge and carry navigation equipment. If anyone gets stuck in mud or quicksand we advise them to spread their weight and phone ‘999Coastguard’ straight away while their mobile phone is dry.

"Due to the speed of incoming tide and possibility of a phone getting damaged in mud or water HM Coastguard would rather send resources early even if the casualty then frees themselves."

The Gazette's campaign, first launched in 2013, aims to raise awareness of the dangers that the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay can pose.

The fast-rising incoming tides, unpredictable quicksands and shifting channels, make the sands some of the most dangerous in the UK.

The campaign urges people to check tide timetables, not to ignore the high tide warning siren and to call the coastguard if they see someone they believe to be in danger.