We were appalled - RNLI crew

I AM writing in response to the article in last week's Mercury 'Find your own way out of the mud Ap Rees'. We are appalled to hear a member of our local authority

I AM writing in response to the article in last week's Mercury 'Find your own way out of the mud - Ap Rees'. We are appalled to hear a member of our local authority expressing an opinion that the mud flats in Weston are causing unnecessary rescue missions. He states that "nobody has ever died" and yet just around the corner in Berrow Bay, where the conditions are identical, five-year-old Lelaina Hall sadly died in June 2002 as a result of being trapped in the mud. Comments like this by Cllr Ap Rees do little to encourage safety at our resort and in fact, if someone was unfortunate to lose their life by being trapped in the mud at Weston it would do huge damage to our tourism industry. His comments could be interpreted as discouraging people from contacting the emergency services if they are concerned and this is nothing but recklessness. As one of the local rescue services, Weston RNLI has, in the last couple of years, rescued a number of people who, had we not been called, would without doubt have died. In 2006 we launched to a lady with two children and a dog who had become trapped. When the lifeboat arrived the lady was waist-deep, holding the smaller of the two children out of the water, with the older child chest-deep at her side. On another occasion two 19-year-olds became trapped in the mud and managed to contact the coastguard by mobile phone when they were thigh-deep in water as the tide was coming in. By the time the RNLI lifeboat arrived on scene 15 minutes later the two casualties were chest-deep. From both these situations it is clear that speed is of the essence and that chances cannot be taken. Clearly the only reason that Cllr Ap Rees is in a position to say that no one has died in Weston Bay is down to the hard work and dedication of the emergency services.Local people recognise that the Weston coastline poses huge potential dangers and it is crucial to educate young people and visitors to our area to try to reduce the number who get in to trouble. To suggest that no-one ever dies does nothing to promote sea safety and in fact undermines the constant efforts of our volunteers who both provide the rescue service and regular sea safety talks.At Weston RNLI Lifeboat Station the volunteer crew would always rather be called out and find someone is actually safe rather than not be called with the result that someone loses their life.Perhaps Cllr Ap Rees would like to accept an open invitation to spend some time at our town's RNLI lifeboat station. He could then talk to the volunteer crew who regularly put themselves in danger to save the lives of others. Liam McDermott - Volunteer crewman, Weston RNLI Lifeboat Station

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