Coastguard saves hypothermic man from marshlands
Cleethorpes Coastguard received their first call out of 2022 to the marshland areas next to Cleethorpes Leisure Centre to rescue a hypothermic man.
A member of the public called the coastguard on January 4, concerned that they had heard someone calling for help around the Leisure Centre area.
A search team was dispatched but due to limited information and strong offshore winds, standard techniques were swapped out with a split and search strategy.
One search team started from the last known location of the possible casualty at the Leisure Centre, while team two started from Leo’s Café along the foot/cycle path back towards the Leisure Centre.
Teams carried out an extensive search on foot and in vehicles out onto the beach in the area of what is known locally as ‘Buck Beck Bench’ but did not see or hear anyone calling out.
As the area near to the Leisure Centre is mainly marshland it’s a very difficult area to search on foot.
The marshlands are extremely dangerous at night due to the numerous deep creeks and holes in the ground that are difficult to see even in daylight.
The OIC requested the Coastguard helicopter to be scrambled to assist in searching the marshland.
At 00:28 hours a member of the team heard shouting coming from the marsh.
After a short while, the search team could just make out a figure about 300 metres offshore in the middle of the marsh.
A two-person immediate rescue team was deployed with two others getting ready in dry suits to back them up to assist with the recovery of the casualty.
The casualty was a 57-year-old male who had been out on the beach for most of the day at Buck Bench, shortly before sunset he had started to make his way back to shore, taking a route across the marshland.
The male became disorientated and due to the weather conditions and very quickly started to suffer from the effects of the cold night.
When the search team finally reached him, he was suffering from extreme hypothermia as the temperature was only 2 degrees, with a blistering wind chill of -3 degrees.
He told the coastguard that he had tried to set fire to his jacket to try and keep warm and on three occasions had laid down because he thought he was going to die out there. He had been on the beach for in excess of 12 hours.
In a statement Cleethropes Coastguard said: “We put him into one of our vehicles in an attempt to warm him up and requested an ambulance, to have him medically assessed at hospital. Unfortunately, the ambulance service were extremely busy with over 170 outstanding incidents all awaiting an ambulance! While assessing our options, a two police officers drove into the car park, on an unrelated incident looking for missing person. After explaining the situation re the ambulance, they agreed to blue light our casualty to the hospital.
“After searching for an hour and a half, and not locating anyone, we were discussing updating our ops room and standing down. However, on our way back to the station, one of the team suggested stopping in the car park to do one last check. Without a shadow of a doubt, if the informant had not called the incident in and our team member suggesting we carry out one last check, we would have been looking at recovering a body this morning.
“This incident has been recorded as a ‘Life Saved’. If you do go out onto the beach, please ensure you know what the tide times are, come off the beach in plenty of time before you lose the daylight and NEVER attempt to cross the marshland between the Leisure Centre and Thorpe Park caravan site.
“We wish the casualty a speedy recovery and would like to thank the informant for making the call. You sir, saved a life last night.”