RNLI lifeboat crew rescue three horses and their riders on foot

Volunteer lifeboat crew from Wells RNLI were called out to three horses and their riders who were stranded on an island off Burnham Overy Staithe after being cut off by the tide.

The lifeboat crew are used to improvising when it comes to saving lives at sea, but nothing quite matched what they have been trained for when, in the early hours of the morning, in the pouring rain, they rescued three horses and riders off an island on foot.

The riders were stranded on Scolt Head Island and were cut off by the tide. They had taken their horses out for a ride at Burnham Overy and had crossed over to Scolt Head Island on the other side of the harbour at low water. Whilst there, they miscalculated the time of the tide and ended up being cut off and unable to return across the channel.

Wells inshore lifeboat was paged just before 6pm on Monday 12th October and launched a few minutes later.  Horse expert, Maddie Rainsford, who’s the wife of an RNLI volunteer, stood by to give advice as the lifeboat shipped out a tent, food, warm clothing and horse rugs to keep them warm.

Even though they were advised not to, by both the RNLI crew and the coastguard that it would be too dangerous for them to return at low water in the dark, the three women decided they wanted to re-cross the channel at the earliest opportunity.

They were deterred from making the crossing late on Monday night, which would have meant wading through a dangerous receding tide. Instead they were persuaded to wait until low water at 2am Tuesday 13th October.

The crew, using their ‘Soft-Track’ transporter tractor to light the way, guided the group back to safety on foot as there was now no water in the channel.

Lifeboat spokesman, Chris Hardy said, ‘The crew are trained for most eventualities, but it not often you rescue people and animals on foot. Thankfully all ended well and no one was hurt.’

OCT15 News RNLI horse rescue 1