Boy, 16, rescued at ‘treacherous’ Medmerry mudflats


A 16-YEAR-OLD was taken to hospital last night after being rescued from the Medmerry mudflats.

The Selsey retained fire crew and the Selsey Coastguard were called at 9.45pm last night, after a boy was stuck at Medmerry - and the tide was fast approaching.

“He had been with his brother, who raised the alarm,” said Selsey crew manager Mark Bateman.

“The location was quite remote. It was treacherous ground, slippery underfoot and the rocks were wet and slippery as well.

“If he was by himself I do not think we would have found him.”

He said the boy was in the area between West Sands Caravan Park and Bracklesham, where a boy had got stuck, and the tide was coming in.

“From what I can gather they were crossing the bit that is flooded to get to The Witterings,” said Mr Bateman.

“You can walk all the way around that area. I think he decided to cross the water for some reason.

“He obviously got in trouble and tried to come back.

“His brother raised the alarm. I think he was 14 or 15 years old.

“He had been in the water for 20 minutes when we got there. West Sands security had called us. They had throw him a poncho to keep him warm.

“The water was waist high by the time we got there. He was stuck in mud. He was off the rocks. We tied a rope around him to make sure he wasn’t going anywhere.

“One of my crew entered the water and released one of the boy’s feet.”

He said they were waiting for specialist equipment, but they were half a mile from where they were parked, with dangerous conditions along the way.

“Then I got in the water,” said Mr Bateman. “I could see he was suffering from mild hypothermia. He was shaking quite violently.”

“I though ‘we have got to get him out’. The tide was coming in and we had an hour before high tide.”

He said he managed to release the boys foot, and the fire crew and coastguard managed to get him to safety.

“Between us and the coastguard we managed to get him up,” said Mr Bateman. “It was half a mile to the ambulance.

“Paramedics said he had either dislocated his ankle, sprained or broken it. He was in quite a lot of pain. He was suffering from mild hypothermia.

“He then went off to hospital in an ambulance.”

He said the rescue took ‘around 45 minutes’, and warned others to stick to the allocated path at Medmerry.

“It is quite an attraction I would think, for children to play in this kind of environment,” he said.

“But there is enough signage about to warn the general public to not go into that area. There is an area around the top which is quite safe.”

He said the brothers were staying at West Sands caravan park, but he think they came from Bognor Regis.

Paul Greenwood, deputy station manager at Selsey Coastguard, said: “He is a lucky lad. If his brother hadn’t raised the alarm I would not have thought he’d be here today.”