Family cut off by tide airlifted from Kimmeridge Bay

The coastguard rescue helicopter had to be deployed to save a child and two adults who were stranded at Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset by a rapidly rising tide.

The call came in just as it was getting dark at about 6.15 pm on Saturday 24th February 2024 and with high tide at 7.24 pm, the St Albans coastguard team quickly set out along the cliff top to look for the group along the coastline, which is famous for fossils.

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Walkers rescued by Kimmeridge Coastguard
Kimmeridge Coastguard

The two adults and child had walked out to the far west of the bay but had become cut off by the rising tide

Lights spotted on Broad Bench

Not long after, the team spotted lights coming from Broad Bench – the rock ledge to the west of the bay – which turned out to be from the stranded family.

Two crews from Weymouth lifeboat station were on their way but as they arrived at around 7 pm, it was clear that the sea conditions were too difficult for even the inshore lifeboat to reach the group.

St Albans coastguard reported:

“With lifeboat extraction now not safely possible due to the sea state and the rising tide, the request was made for a coastguard helicopter.

“With the request put in, the Lulworth coastguard rescue team was also tasked to assist with setting up a helicopter landing site in the nearby Kimmeridge Bay car park.”

Walkers rescued by Kimmeridge Coastguard
Kimmeridge Coastguard

The coastguard kept watch on the shore as the coastguard rescue helicopter arrived

Safely winched off the rocks

Coastguard rescue helicopter 187, which is based at St Athan near Cardiff arrived on the scene and was able to safely winch the child and two adults off the rocks in the dark.

The helicopter then took them back to the Kimmeridge car park where the coastguard teams were waiting.

At this point, the Lee on Solent coastguard rescue helicopter also arrived on the scene, so there could be a crew change and an exchange of equipment.

With the child and adults safely in the care of the coastguard, the helicopters and the lifeboats were all able to return to home.

Weymouth replacement lifeboat returning to the harbour
Weymouth RNLI

The Weymouth relief lifeboat The Duke of Kent returns to harbour

“Take note of the tide times”

Weymouth lifeboat station said:

“We live on a very beautiful and interesting coastline, and its fascination can be time absorbing.

“The RNLI strongly recommend that great care be taken when walking along coastal paths and beaches, to stay well clear of cliff edges and to take note of the tide times.”

Watch the relief all weather lifeboat return to Weymouth

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