Coastguard warns of dangerous tides

PUBLISHED: 18:00 24 August 2012 | UPDATED: 10:51 26 August 2012

Burnham RNLI craft break off the search.

Burnham RNLI craft break off the search.

Archant

MEMBERS of the Coastguard and police have warned people of the dangers of the sea’s fast tides after Dylan Cecil was swept away by the turbulent waves.

A large-scale but ultimately fruitless rescue operation was launched after the four-year-old fell from Burnham’s jetty on Sunday evening.

Mark Newman, chairman of BARB, was one of the first on the scene and saw the family frantically search for their son.

He said: “Both our hovercrafts were out along with 20 crew members throughout the night.

“A huge area of the Bridgwater Bay has been searched and people are feeling very deflated having tragically not found the little boy.”

It was feared Dylan, pictured above, had been swept away by the spring tides, which can reach up to four knots in speed.

HM Coastguard sector manager Tris Newey said: “The tides which run across the jetty are quite strong and the water is very turbulent. With these kind of conditions on the jetty it is impossible to see the edge.”

Dylan’s parents Rachel McCollum and Darren Cecil tried in vain to rescue their son but were pulled from the water by passers-by and emergency services.

Despite teams from BARB, the RNLI and the coastguard tirelessly searching throughout Sunday night, the search was scaled down on Monday afternoon, as hopes of finding Dylan faded.

Mr Newey added: “At the time the water was quite deep either side with a fast current flow and if you fall into the water it is hard to get back to shore.”

Superintendent head of Somerset West, Keith McCoubrey, said: “Both parents went in to find Dylan, without success. It shows how dangerous the tides are. Within a few seconds, they could not find him.

“Unfortunately we have been unable to rescue Dylan. Our hearts, minds and sympathies are with the family.”

A specialist underwater rescue boat, SARboot UK Underwater Rescue, also searched the waters yesterday (Wed) with high-tech sonar equipment in an effort to find the youngster’s body.


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