News Articles Part 3


Coxswain Collin Olden (50) and crew member Gary Olden (28) of Hamble Inshore rescue, an independent rescue service, are to be awarded the Thanks of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution inscribed on Vellum, for saving the life of 12 year-old Steven Tucker, who was stuck in the mud and in danger of drowning on 19 July 1997. The RNLI's Executive Committee, meeting in London yesterday, have also awarded a Vellum Service Certificate to crew member Michael Stanier (34) for his part in the rescue.

Coxswain Collin Olden drove the rigid inflatable rescue craft onto the mud in order to reach the boy, who had only his head and right shoulder showing above the mud. However, the boat was still 45 ft away. Gary Olden quickly put on a safety harness, with a line attached, and slid onto the mud, sinking to the middle of his thighs. He managed to swim over the mud and reach the boy, who was exhausted and unable to help himself. With a supreme effort, Gary Olden dug out the boy's legs, pulled him clear, and flipped onto his back so that he could hold the boy on his chest. Collin Olden and Michael Stanier pulled them both over the mud and hauled them into the boat. By now, the incoming tide had almost refloated the boat and Coxswain Olden was able to go astern and clear the mud.

In his official report, Leslie Vipond, divisional inspector of lifeboats for the South says; 'Hamble Inshore Rescue was launched in a very short time to aid the boy who was firmly stuck in deep mud. Due to his struggles he was almost overwhelmed and was unable to assist himself. He could have been drowned by the incoming tide. Coxswain Collin Olden demonstrated superb judgement, fine seamanship, and a thorough knowledge of the capabilities of his boat, in mounting the mud to get closer to the boy. Crewman Gary Olden showed considerable courage in adapting his swimming skills to the unusual set of circumstances confronting him. His physical strength was sorely tried. The service was of short duration and, though carried out in very calm weather conditions, was executed in the very best traditions of lifeboatmen. It required determination and considerable flare to save the life of the boy".

The RNLI operates 220 lifeboat stations throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland. However, there are a small number of independent boats which also act as declared rescue facilities and are co-ordinated by The Coastguard Agency. There are ten such organisations in the Solent and the RNLI is pleased to recognise their contribution to saving life at sea.

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) A teen-ager was trapped in chest-deep mud for about 10 hours after his friends dared him to walk through a mud pool at an abandoned mine site.

Justin Underwood, 15, is now "just fine," said Roleana Treadway, his stepmother.

Underwood and friends were at the mine on Sunday when friends dared him to walk through the mud, said Trap Hill Fire Chief Larry Reedy. As he was walking, Underwood stepped into a deep hole and got stuck.

His friends tried for six hours to get him out before calling the fire department. Firefighters pulled him out of the mud.

"A vacuum had been created because of the mud," Reedy said.

Pat Brady, district manager for the federal Mine Safety Health Administration, said no fines will be leveled against Anchor Energy, the company that owns the mine.

"The company considers these young people trespassers," Brady said. There are signs posted on the land clearly stating it is private property.

Thank you for saving my life

LUCKY-to-be-alive Christian Wheadon visited Padiham fire station to say thank you to the men who rescued from him from a terrifying ordeal.

Christian, 10, was trapped to his waist in clinging mud and had water up to his shoulders after slipping down a bank into the River Calder at Padiham.

"I am just grateful to the people who rescued me,'' said Christian. "It was really frightening; the water was freezing.''

Christian of Fair View Road, Burnley, was at the fire station with his grandfather Robert Holding.

Leading firefighter Nick Sutcliffe said the Fire and Rescue Service wanted to warn others of the dangerous mud at the River Calder at the end of Park Road, Padiham.

He said: "There is a lot of spare land around there. Christian was playing when he slipped down a bank into the mud and water. "It sucked him in and he was in mud up to his waist and with water up to his shoulders. He was terrified and was suffering from hypothermia.

"He was within minutes of losing consciousness and can remember little or nothing of being in the ambulance or at the hospital. He is a very lucky lad.''

Mr Sutcliffe, firefighter Chris O'Brien and leading firefighter Duncan Brown, with colleagues holding on to safety lines, dug for half an hour before Christian was dragged free.

Twelve firefighters and paramedics from Altham helped in the rescue and treatment of Christian who amazingly suffered no ill effects.

He was in the mud and water for an hour before the emergency services arrived.

Mr Sutcliffe said: "Others had tried to rescue him before we arrived. Our advice always is for people to call us out straight away.

"We would rather arrive to find that a situation had been resolved rather than turn up late and be faced with a possible tragedy.''

Christian was shown around the fire station and inspected the fire appliances and equipment used to help in his rescue.


Real-life drama which could have ended in tragedy

THERE was a full-scale emergency at Wirral Show on Saturday when a 13-year-old from Oxton, and two of her friends who tried to rescue her, became trapped on sandbanks at Portland Island, off Harrison Drive, New Brighton.

Police, fire brigade, helicopters and the coastguard all turned out for a real-life drama as thousands of showgoers made their way home about 6pm on Saturday.

The fire service rescued the girls, who were up to their chests in quick-sand and needed treatment. A police officer who had gone to their aid and also became stuck was also pulled clear.

Emma said that the beach looked sandy but turned to mud and she sank straight up to her knees then above the waist. She was covered in oil and when her friends Sarah Lawrence and Ashley Murphy, both aged 13 from Wallasey, tried to help they became stuck as well.

St John's Ambulance and a fire brigade emergency crew hosed down the three friends (pictured right and below) who went for a walk on the sandy beach after being at Wirral Show.

Concerned relatives comforted the girls after a day out at Wirral Show nearly ended in tragedy.

Minutes later New Brighton in-shore lifeboat rescued a Liverpool father and mother, and two children, from the treacherous mud flats. No-one was hurt in the incidents.


THE Wirral Coastguard has warned of the dangers of Hoylake and West Kirby's sinking sands after a full-scale emergency just down the coast at Harrison Drive, where three young girls had to be rescued at the weekend.

Now Coastguard Brian May, based at Meols, has told beach-users to be on their guard and to read - and act upon - warnings posted by the council.

"Around the groynes there is particularly deep mud - if you get stuck in it you cannot remove yourself. About twice a year we have to pull people out," he explained. "In some areas, particularly at Hoylake, there is soft sand and you can sink if you stand still for long enough.

"The best thing is to keep moving."

Another danger area is the South end of the Marine Lake at West Kirby, where a horse and rider had to be rescued a few years ago. The weight of the animal and its terrified effort to get a hoof-hold in the liquid sand caused it to sink further and further, added Mr May.

"If you feel any movement, get away from the area," he continued, adding that people should be aware for their own safety. "The local authority provide signs explaining the danger. If people don't care to read them, there's not a lot you can do."

Shortly after the safety briefing, Jeff instructed us to get to know the glacier by looking for clues that would help us determine how the moraine we had been sitting on had been formed. Ranae and I walked around the outwash (meltwater from the glacier forming a stream as it emerges from underneath the glacier) and were taking some snapshots when a panicked woman approached, telling us that "A girl has fallen in a creavase and can't get out. My husband is waiting with her." The woman's daughter showed us the way. The girl hadn't fallen in a creavase (in which case rescue would have been near impossible if someone had even known to look for her). Instead she had tried to cross a mud flat on the hillside above the path to the glacier. The twelve-year-old girl had gotten turned around and saw the quickest way to the glacier was to walk across the mud flat. Apparently, after she sank into the mud up to her knee, she tripped. One of her legs was buried to the knee, one arm was buried to the shoulder. She had nothing to push against and so couldn't get out.

Fortunately, her accident happened relatively close to the trail and she was able to call for help. Fortunately, Cory and Mike had just finished collecting data on the glacier and had a length of rope with them. We tossed her the rope, she looped it under her arms and we pulled her free. It took four grown-ups to free her from the mud. Her trapped shoe is still there.

Don't walk on the mud. Don't travel alone.... Any questions?

woman's ordeal in freezing mudbath

A woman was rescued after becoming stuck in mud up to her waist for almost three hours while taking a short cut across a field near Combs Reservoir on Monday.

The alarm was raised when someone heard her cries for help at around 4pm, when she had already been stuck for almost an hour.
Police attended the scene and attempted to pull the woman free, but had to call out the Fire Service at 4.10pm.
The woman, who was very cold and wet, was eventually freed by fire crews from Buxton at around 5.45pm and was taken to hospital for a check-up.

Hooky session gets dirty
By Sam Wood
Inquirer Staff Writer

WINSLOW - Seven Winslow High School students playing hooky from school yesterday got an unexpected lesson in the viscosity of mud.

The six boys and a girl, ages 13 through 17, were cutting through a sand and gravel quarry off Williamstown Road in the Tansboro section shortly after 11 a.m. when a 17-year-old boy stepped into a gooey patch of wet mud and began to sink, police said.

He was trapped for 90 minutes before being rescued.

As the boy struggled to free himself from the muck, the suction became stronger and he began to sink into it as if it were quicksand. He kept sinking until one leg was buried up to his hip, police said.

The boy continued to sink until he was buried up to his chest, said a 16-year-old companion. The 16-year-old said the students tried to dig their friend out of the mud, but the teenager continued to sink.

Several of the students fled. The 16-year-old said his 14-year-old girlfriend called for help on her cell phone.

And help did come.

Five fire companies from Winslow Township - along with a trench rescue squad from the Cherry Hill Fire Department - responded to the call at the Better Materials quarry, said Tansboro Deputy Fire Chief Rex Leach.

Rescue workers laid down planks over a stream and a stretch of spongy ground to reach the boy. The boy, trapped for an hour before rescue workers reached him, was unearthed by three firefighters in 30 minutes, Leach said.

The boy, whom police did not identify, was shaken but otherwise uninjured, Leach said.

He was taken to Virtua-West Jersey Hospital Berlin, where he was treated for hypothermia and released

Constable rescues kids from marsh
Our Correspondent

Mandi, May 26
Two children - Romesh (8) and Manju (6) - who got trapped in a marshy area of the Beas, near Sain Mohalla were rescued by constable Lal Chand today.

The constable, who was on traffic duty on the Victoria Bridge, was told by a passerby that two children were trapped in a marsh while playing on the river side.

Lal Chand rushed to the spot abandoning his duty and rescued the children partly drowned in the mud at the risk of his life.

Mr J.R. Thakur, SP, said Lal Chand had been recommended for bravery award.

Fisherman's mud rescue

Firefighters rescued a fisherman who was sucked into a muddy bog near one of Shropshire's fishing pools.

The angler found himself unable to escape after sinking into the mud at Lilleshall, near Newport.

Newport firefighters used ropes to haul the man out after being called to the scene at Lilleshall Hall at around 7.30pm yesterday.

An ambulance was called to the scene but the man did not need hospital treatment.

Ten children rescued from bubbling mud-fountain

By Godfrey Mandiwana

SILOAM - Ten school children have been rescued from the bubbling mud-fountain at Siloam in the Nzhelele area during the past weeks.

The "mud fountains" caused a quite scare within the community, not only out of fear for a possible tremor, earthquake or even a volcanic eruption, but also the danger it presented to the village's children. One of the fountains is situated within walking distance from a school and according to Mr Paul Mukwena, a representative of the Siloam community, more than ten children have already been rescued from the mud pools.

Mrs Takalani Matamela's house is crumbling to the ground and all the other houses are full of cracks. She told Mirror that the floor in the house is oozing mud. This gives her sleepless nights.

Although this is not commonly known, volcanic activity is not uncommon to the Siloam area. It was only in April last year that scientists took a new interest in the area with the sudden appearance of several mud fountains oozing from the earth's crust.

Prof. Peter Omara-Ojungu, Dean of the School of Environmental Science at the University of Venda said intensive research has been done to evaluate the situation. Since then, he said, research has proven that the appearance of the mud fountains presents no danger to the inhabitants of Siloam.

He added that scientists would continue monitoring the situation and that further studies would be done regarding building zones and the quality of the water.

The Siloam Fault Line was formed after the formation of the Soutpansberg Mountain Range some 1,7 billion years ago. It stretches from the west of Thohoyandou, through the mountain up to the south of Venetia Mine. At Siloam, the fault is approximately three kilometres deep.

Two other major fault lines, the Tshipise Fault Line and the Messina Fault Line, are also found in the area. The hot water springs at Tshipise, Sagole Spa and Mphephu Resort are found on the Tshipise Fault Line, while the Messina Fault Line is responsible for the rich copper deposits in the Messina area.

Dr Stoyan Mitchev from the School of Environmental Science of the Department of Mining and Environmental Geology, also states that the occurrence of "mud fountains" along the fault line is not unusual. He explained that the mud pools are related to the penetration of ground water through the Siloam fault and the higher clay content of the upper part of the Nzhelele formation.

This is due to the heavy rainfall in February last year and the abundance of water finding its way into the underground water system. He added that the seismic activity in the area is almost zero and that the mud pools will disappear in time with the gradual decrease in the level of the underground water tables.

Officer, suspect pulled from neck-deep muck in rescue

DALLAS (AP) - A police officer and a handcuffed suspect trapped up to their chins in mud were rescued by a police helicopter's co-pilot who dangled from the chopper to pull them up.

The two were plucked from the Fish Trap Lake bed in West Dallas about 3 a.m. Saturday, police said. A second officer, only waist deep in mud, freed himself.

The helicopter - which hovered only about a foot above the lake bed during the rescue - was in danger of being pulled into the mud as well, said one of the pilots, Senior Cpl. Robert Bryan.

"We were extremely close to the ground," Bryan said. "One little slip-up and that was all she wrote."

The incident began about 2:40 a.m. Saturday when officers Michael Freeman and John Woodruff were called in as backup on a traffic stop. Another officer needed help after pulling over a suspected drunken driver.

After the officers handcuffed the driver and his passenger, the passenger tried to run across Fish Trap Lake, which was drained in July and appeared to be dry.

It wasn't.

As the unidentified suspect - his hands cuffed behind him - tried to get away, he began to sink.

Freeman was in close pursuit and realized what was happening too late to save himself. He too began to get swallowed up by the mud, police said. Woodruff got caught when he tried to save his partner.

When the two helicopter pilots - Bryan and his partner, Senior Cpl. Paul Stokes - arrived at the scene, Stokes called for the fire department to bring a ladder truck. He soon realized that the situation was too dangerous to wait.

"When Mike Freeman got on the radio and said, 'I can't breathe,' we didn't have time for that to happen," Stokes said. "It was really serious when the officer was stuck up to his neck. Then we knew the severity of the situation at that time."

Stokes grabbed Freeman's waist and pulled him to safety. They then rescued the suspect in the same manner. Woodruff, meanwhile, was able to free himself.

Freeman was taken to Methodist Central Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and released. The fleeing suspect was taken to Lew Sterrett Justice Center, where he was expected to be charged with evading arrest, police said

Boy rescued from marsh

A boy of eight was taken to hospital after sinking waist-deep in a marshy bog.

Firefighters pulled the boy to safety after he got trapped walking across a field with a young girl.

The youngster, who has not been named, was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia.

The alarm was raised shortly after 6.20pm on Saturday when the fire brigade received reports of a child trapped up to his knees on land next to the new link road at Willingdon Drove, Eastbourne.

Two fire crews from Eastbourne arrived to find the youngster had already sunk to waist level.

Assistant divisional officer Dick Ashley said: "A specialist crew was on its way from Crowborough with an inflatable rescue path but officers rescued him with a tug and a pull before it arrived.

"It was very dark and, although we're not medics, we suspected something like hypothermia was setting in.

"The officers waded through the mud but weren't in any danger because they took it very carefully and steadily.

"They were in a bit of a state when they were finished though - very wet and muddy."

The fire brigade said people should always be aware of the ground they were walking on and avoid areas known to be marshy, particularly with icy weather coming up.

Boy saved from mud by Mersey Inshore Rescue Service

At 19:15 this evening an 11-year-old boy was rescued from the banks of the River Mersey by the River Mersey Inshore Rescue Service.

The boy got into trouble on Egremont Beach when he became stuck in soft mud about 150m from the water.

The incident highlights the diverse nature of the incidents facing the Rescue Service on the River Mersey.

Senior Operations Officer Andrew Fell said, ”The other emergency services were not in a position to help the boy.” He continued, “ We used a new inflatable rescue sled developed by the Mersey Inshore Rescue Service, specifically designed for exactly this type of incident. The fast response we are able to provide makes all the difference in a life or death situation”.

The boy was safely transferred to the waiting Ambulance Service and the Fire Brigade who were on scene.

Mersey Inshore Rescue Service has provided search & rescue on the River Mersey since 1984 maintaining a 24-hour, 365 days a year operation. Over the years, the Service has recovered over 400 immersed casualties assisted 2,500 vessels.


CHILDREN playing on land adjacent to the Hundred Houses development on Chalklands had a lucky escape when they became stuck in thick mud on the site last month. One girl, who had sunk up to her thighs in the sodden earth, was pulled to safety by District Councillor Joan Smith and Mrs Lynda Askew, who happened to be close by when the incident occurred.

The mother of one of the children involved, who has asked not to be named, has called for increased security measures on the construction site. In a letter to the Linton News, she writes: "I want to know why the residents were not informed of the date the area was to be fenced off and also of just how dangerous the area was… Children will be children-you either keep a dangerous area securely fenced off so they cannot enter it or inform the parents of the possible dangers so they can talk to their children about them, neither of these were done".

On Saturday, April 7th, a group of children and teenagers entered the site and began to play on the muddy field. At least two of them quickly got into difficulty on the muddy ground. Cllr Smith and Mrs Askew realised there was a problem when they saw a number of distressed and dirty children running away from the site, and more children standing by a hole in the fence. They were told that one girl was stuck and went to help. "It took the strength of two adults, using one of the protective metal gates as a platform, to release that child. If she had fallen forward in her efforts to free herself she would possibly have died as the mud would have covered her mouth and nose and she could not have got a purchase on the mud with her hands to lift her face up".

Cllr Smith said that this part of the site has always been a problem. "This is a clay field with a high water table and several springs which, combined with the wet weather, had caused a deep and very dangerous morass of mud on the second half of the field".

Colin Wiles, Business and Policy Manager for Hundred Houses, who are building 19 social housing homes on the site, stated: "On Friday 6th April, the contractors put up fencing to fill gaps around the site. While the work was going on, a group of children began abusing the contractors. On the following Saturday afternoon, someone phoned the contractor about the incident on the field. The contractor reported the incident to the police. On the Sunday morning, sub-contractors went to the site and reinstalled the fencing, which had been pushed down. They also erected signs warning children to keep out. The next morning (Monday) the fencing was checked again. Plastic fencing has since been added to mark off boggy areas of the site."

At Cllr Smith’s request, Chalklands Residents Association issued a warning about the site in a recent community newsletter. The police will be informed of any intrusions on the site and are monitoring the area.


Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo.
October 19, 1911 Page 1

Pulls One Child Out and Holds Other Above Surface Until Rescuers Arrive On Scene.

(Special to The News) DE BEQUE, Colo.--Oct 18--At the risk of his own life, Arthur Chapman, 5 year old son of Marshall H. Chapman, saved his 4 year old sister, and 5 year old Flossie Farley, from death in the quicksand three miles from here yesterday.

The mothers of the children were attending a missionary meeting at the Farley home. The little Farley girl and the two Chapman children were sent to meet an oncoming buggy to deliver a message. The buggy did not arrive and the three children wandered into Coon Hollow.

The girls while playing were caught in the quicksand. The Chapman boy heard their screams and succeeded in pulling out the Farley child before she had sunk far into the sand. He then told her to run home and get help while he tried in vain to extricate his little sister from her perilous position.

When the rescuers got to the scene they found the youngster almost unconscious from fatigue, but with a firm hold on his sister's dress. She was waist deep in the sand and being slowly pulled under when the rescuers arrived.

This was near the site of another early day tragedy, which cost the life of a homestead settler. (Francis (Franz) Rhynn had homesteaded the northwest quarter of Section 11, Township 23, Range 3, presently the Louis Barry farm. The lower or northeast part of this land was swampy as old timers well remember, prior to the land being tiled. Mr. Rhynn's father, Henry Rhynn, went out to bring in the cows in the evening. To make a short cut, he was crossing the swamp area by stepping from raised bog to raised bog when he slipped and immediately mired into the quicksand so that he could not extricate himself. Darkness soon fell and when the other members of the family went to look for him, they could hear him screaming for help but in the darkness could not reach him. Neighbors also heard him scream and came to offer assistance. All had to stand by hoping that the unfortunate man could hold on until daylight. When dawn came they found the man dead. Henry Rhynn's homestead was the E1/2SE1/4 of Section 3 and the E1/2NE1/4 of Section 9 which is now owned by George Schroeder and lies to the west of the Louie Barry farm. The Barry farm was for many years the County Poor Farm until it was discontinued for that purpose and sold at auction to Mr. Barry. The old Poor Farm three story home was razed in 1965.



12:00 - 06 June 2002

Grateful coastguard officers have thanked a Topsham boatman who helped them rescue two boys who were stuck in mud for more than six hours.

The boys, aged 11 and 14, needed hospital treatment after their rescue from the Exe estuary.

They had been stuck on the West side close to the Turf Locks pub for more than six hours before the alarm was raised on Tuesday.

They were brought ashore at around 6.30pm after boatyard owner Mark Trout took coastguard rescuers as close as possible in his boat. The boys had been fishing and got into difficulty when they tried to cross the mud on their way home. The 11-year-old was suffering from mild hypothermia and had to be stretchered to shore.

Mr Trout said: "I saw the coastguard officers were having trouble seeing where the boys were and were getting tired out as they waded through the mud.

"I could see the men still had a long way to go and probably could not see exactly where the boys were, so I thought I would help out."

Mr Trout motored his launch to the two coastguard officers - who were wearing dry suits - and ferried them as close to the boys as possible.

The coastguard officers were then able to wade the last 60 yards through mud to where the boys were stuck. Mr Trout returned to collect the boys' bicycles and backpacks.

Teignmouth Coastguard Station Officer John Hook said: "Mr Trout was very helpful in helping our officers reach the boys speedily.

"The reeds are very tall in that area and they were having some trouble locating the boys."

He warned people not to cross areas of mud. The boys were recovering today.

Well Tailings Pits Two workers, a farmhand and mechanic, drowned in a water-filled well tailings pit. Workers drilling a well in a remote area of a farm created a pit about 100 feet long and 50 feet wide to catch the spoils from the bottom of the well. The pit was 8 to 10 feet deep with vertical sides and contained about 4 feet of water and a foot of foam caused by a foaming agent used in the well drilling process. A 71- year-old farmhand drilling the well did not return from the site, and a 39-year-old mechanic went to look for him. The bodies of both men were found in the tailings pit. Both victims had sunk into and became stuck in the mud at the bottom of the pit and drowned. The incident was unobserved but it is thought that the older worker was spraying defoamer on the foam and fell into the pit and was unable to get out. The younger employee found him there and entered the pit to rescue him and was also unable to break free from the pit

Report of Two Boys Stuck In Mud

Launched at 21:05 hrs and returned from service at 22:01 hrs.

Service Area: Shell Ness Point, 2.4 miles from station.

Weather: Wind SW 6, Moderate Seas, No Swell, Good Visibility.

Two boys returning by bike from Deal to Ramsgate found themselves on the south bank of the river Stour, near Shell Ness, and attempted to cross the mud with their bikes. The boys became stuck in the mud and called 999 on a mobile telephone, but due to poor signal (and wet phone) the operators could not get the complete message and assumed it was a hoax call. The boys then called a relative,who alerted HMCG.

ILB launch was requested and Rescue Helicopter 125 tasked, whilst HMCG mobile patrol proceeded and the local fishing vessel "Susan" closed the area as close as possible to see if he could see anything. On arrival the ILB crew founds the boys stuck in the mud, cold wet and disorientated. The boys (and their bikes) were taken back to the Ramsgate Boathouse and taken home by their parents.

Two Boys Stuck In Mud in the River Stour

Launched at 20:16 hrs and returned from service at 21:12 hrs.

Service Area: River Stour, 2.8 miles from station.

Weather: Wind NNW 4, Calm Seas, Good Visibility.

HMCG requested ILB launch following report from MoP of two boys stranded in the mud on the Stour Bank opposite Pfizers.

ILB located the boys, wet, cold and disorientated, and extricated them from the mud. The boys and their bikes were taken to Ramsgate, the ILB managing to leave the river on the very last of the tide.

Mud entraps former supervisor

Warminster's Ray Regan a former township supervisor was stuck in mud up to his waist in his back yard for two hours Sunday evening, until fire and rescue workers were able to free him.
Ray Regan is building an addition onto his Juniper Street home, neighbors said. Ditches had been dug for the foundation and had collected water from the rain over the weekend. One neighbor said Regan had been trying to pump some of the water out of the ditch when he became trapped in the mud around 4:30 p.m.
Rescue crews eventually succeeded after calling in the Southampton Fire Co., which specializes in rescuing people trapped in collapses. The rescuers used wood boards to shore up the mud as they dug. Regan was finally unearthed at 6:35 to applause and cheers from a sizable crowd of neighbors and the curious, some of whom heard early reports of the rescue effort on television news and went to Juniper Street to check it out.

Man rescued from mud after sinking chest-deep

By Beth Quimby
Eagle-Tribune Writer

NEWBURY -- A Belmont man was rescued from chest-deep mud along the Plum Island River just as the tide was coming in yesterday afternoon.

Jeff Mason had been fishing at low tide in the muddy banks along the river when he sank up to his chest in mud and could not free himself. Roy R. Paris, 35, of Lawrence, a party boat captain, was driving over the bridge when he saw Mr. Mason struggling to get free.

''He was up to his armpits and the tide was coming in. Another hour and the guy could have died,'' said Mr. Paris.

He called for help and dozens of rescuers from the Newbury Police, Newbury Fire Department, the Coast Guard and the Newburyport harbor patrol showed up.

At first they tried to pull Mr. Mason out with a rope, but Mr. Mason remained stuck.

Rescue workers placed an extension ladder out over the mud and Newbury Firefighter Dana M. Davis crawled out to Mr. Mason.

At first the added weight from the ladder squeezed Mr. Mason farther into the mud. But with much twisting and turning, he managed to get free.

''It took a little while with the suction,'' said Newbury Deputy Fire Chief David W. Foley.

Chief Foley said the marshes are muddy, but he had never heard of anyone getting stuck so deeply before.

''We have never had one stuck up like that as far as I recall,'' he said.

Mr. Mason was not hurt from his ordeal.

''Except maybe his pride,'' said Chief Foley.

Girl, 12, plucked from quagmire

A 12-year-old girl today relived the moment she was plucked to safety by firefighters as she sank chest-deep in mud on a York building site.

Carrie Storr thanked her rescuers, who issued a strong warning to children to beware quagmire conditions across the region.

Building sites and riverbanks will be exceptionally dangerous over next week's half-term holiday following the wet winter weather, said fire service assistant divisional officer John Swires.

Health and safety experts were today looking into the drama which unfolded around Carrie, of Seventh Avenue, Tang Hall.

Events began when she went on to Alfred McAlpine's Hayfields building site, off Fossway, Heworth, climbed on to a seven-foot high pile of mud and started sinking.

A 12-year-old boy ran to get help and neighbour Tony Clarke, of Muncastergate, came to assist, but he got stuck in the mud as well.

Firefighters, police and ambulance workers were called at around 7pm last night, and found Carrie up to her chest in the mud and slowly sinking.

Leading firefighter Mike Wilson, based at York Fire Station, said: "When we arrived it was very dark and round the back of the first set of houses they are building there was a heap of soil about six to eight foot high.

"We could only walk so far so we used a rescue path (an inflatable rubber path used to rescue people from ice or boggy ground) to get to them. It would have been impossible to walk on, it would have been dangerous."

"We couldn't just pull her out. When you have got something so wet you get suction. We had to try and dig down.

"Every time we tried to dig the girl out first, he (Mr Clark) was sliding down on top of her with his weight. The mud oozed, filling the holes where we were trying to get her out.

Carrie, who was shaken and tired but unhurt today, thanked her rescuers.

"I am very grateful and would like to say thanks. I told the man not to go any further but he did."

She said she had run on to the site through an open gate after leaving her friend's house. Carrie's father David said: "She was covered in mud from her feet to her hair, she was shaking and shivering."

Her mum Ann said Carrie's boots and coat had had to be thrown away, but she had managed to wash her school uniform.

She said: "They're replaceable but she's not replaceable. We're very grateful."

Alfred McAlpine were unavailable for comment.

Union Colony Rescue/Fire Authority fireman Kevin Jelden, top left, and a unidentified by-stander use a rope to pull Ruben Daniel, 11, out of the mud at Glemere Pond in Greeley Colo. after him and his brother Adrian Daniel, 8, left, got stuck up their chests Saturday morning November 3, 2001. The two brothers said they were trying to walk to a island in the middle of the pond when they sunk up to their chests and got stuck and couldn't move. Glenmere Pond has recently been drained leaving in some areas of the pond over 10 feet of very soft mud.

Boy rescued in mud trap drama

AN eight-year-old boy was trapped up to his waist in mud for 20 minutes after searching for foxes on Rowley Tip in Burnley on Saturday afternoon.

Luke Swainston Thomas, of Walsden Grove, Burnley, had been on the landfill site with his friend Sean McRobb, 12, of Turton Grove, Burnley, at about 3pm. He was trying to clean his trainers when he got sucked in by the mud and was trapped up to his waist.

Sean told his friend not to move and stop panicking and he ran to the nearby Top Shop on Ridge Row to get help from the fire brigade. As he was running back to his pal he stopped driver Philip Clegg and asked him for help.

Philip, 36, of Branch Road, Burnley, had been working on his friend Neil Laurie's house on Ridge Row.

Mr Laurie, 34, said: "We ran down and jumped over the fence and saw one lad standing there and the other trapped up to his waist in mud.

"We told him not to move. He was in tears and was upset. "He did manage to drag himself on to a tyre which his friend had found and got out up to his knees.

"We had a look for something to put on the mud but we couldn't find anything so I took a couple of steps in then he reached out and grabbed him and we dragged him out."

Luke's dad Tony said his son was now grounded.

He said: "He was told not to go off the street.

"I will be contacting the council to say there are holes in the fence which need to be blocked off because the children can just walk through on to the site.

"I would like to personally thank the two men who pulled Luke out of the mud."

Leading Firefighter Gary Kiyani said: "If he had been in there any longer he would have suffered because it was terribly cold.

"He would have been in trouble if he had not been with his friend and he had gone to raise the alarm. Children should not be playing on these sites.

"The passers-by had managed to get him out of the mud by the time we arrived and we just carried him back across the site to the ambulance. It was quite a trek from the road to where he was."

Luke was taken to Burnley General Hospital where he was wrapped in blankets until his body temperature returned to normal. He was none the worse for his ordeal.

Lucy, 13, tells of mud trap terror

A SCHOOLGIRL today told how she thought she was going to sink to her death after tumbling 30ft into a muddy, drained and disused canal.

The accident sparked a major rescue operation involving police, fire crews, paramedics and mountain rescue teams who were scrambled to the scene at Hill Top Lane, Whittle-le-Woods.

Lucy Parker, 13, of Watkin Road, Whittle-le-Woods, was walking along a footpath close to the drop with her 10-year-old friend Coral Latham.

Lucy dropped her purse into the disused canal which is beside Whittle Hill Quarries.

Holding on to each other's hands they tried to edge down the steep slope before slipping and falling 30ft into the mud.

"I thought I was going to die," said Lucy who attends Brownedge St Mary's High School in Bamber Bridge.

"The mud was up to my thighs and I couldn't move. I didn't know how deep it was. I was scared of dying. I was shouting 'help me I am sinking'.

"We were trying to grab hold of branches to get ourselves out but because they were so old they kept on snapping. It was really frightening."

Coral managed to scramble out and used a mobile phone to alert the emergency services.

Teams from the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, supported by rope teams from Lancashire Fire and Rescue, spent 45 minutes getting help to the youngster.

Now both sets of parents have banned their children from the area surrounding the quarry.

The stretch of canal is owned by Peter Higham, of Hill Top Lane. He has tried to prevent children from playing in his land previously.

Her said: "They shouldn't be there because it is fenced. I warn them to stay away because it is dangerous."

Whittle-le-Woods councillor Eric Bell said: "The kids were playing in a spot where they shouldn't have been. It is a problem we have in Whittle."

Sgt Eddie Newton, of Lancashire Police, said: "This was private land and we would urge parents to remind their children about making sure they do not wander off or play in areas which are not safe."

Lucy is recovering at home with an injured leg following Sunday night's incident.

Girl is rescued in ravine mud drama

A 13-YEAR-OLD girl was pulled to safety by emergency crews after sliding 80 feet down an embankment and becoming trapped up to the waist in mud.

A nine-year-old friend made a frantic 999 call on a mobile phone after the girl suffered leg injuries in the ravine, in Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley, known locally as Dead Man's Tunnel.

Police, fire crews, paramedics and mountain rescue teams were all scrambled to the scene, along a stretch of boggy land which used to be a canal until 1970, at around 7pm yesterday.

The nine-year-old's first phone call led police to believe that the friends had actually fallen into one of the area's three quarries after dropping her purse and stumbling.

Lancashire Police's helicopter was scrambled while officers on the ground also carried out checks and quizzed local youngsters about where the girls might have been playing.

Then they received a second call from the nine-year-old, who had managed to scramble back up to the top of the ravine. She gave officers better directions to the site, off Hill Top Lane, a remote single-lane road.

Teams from the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, supported by rope teams from Lancashire Fire and Rescue, then spent 45 minutes getting help to the youngster.

She received medical attention before being winched back up to the road, where she taken by ambulance to the Royal Preston Hospital suffering leg injuries.

Today police warned parents across Lancashire to make sure their children knew not to play in remote areas such as quarries.

With the summer holidays due to start, police fear yesterday's incident may be the first of many right across East Lancashire.

Sgt Eddie Newton, of Lancashire Police, said: "The first phone call received suggested the girls had fallen into a quarry and were trapped so teams began searching the quarries.

"Then we got the second call and were able to locate them. There was virtually no traction on the slope, which a 45 degree drop, so mountain rescue and fire crews had to use ropes to get down there.

"The girls were covered in mud and the 13-year-old couldn't move because of her leg injuries."

He added: "This was private land and we would urge parents to remind their children about making sure they do not wonder off or play in areas which are not safe." A spokesman for Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue, said: "It was very muddy and we had to use ropes to get down there."

The land has been privately owned since the canal was drained in 1970.

The current owners are Peter and Barbara Hughes.

Mrs Hughes said: "We do get youngsters coming on here and playing and it can be dangerous.

"We hope this serves to make sure other youngsters don't play here in the future."

Mud trap victims rescued by fire crew

FIREFIGHTERS in Rawtenstall had to rescue two children who got stuck in mud - as well as a neighbour who had tried to help them out.

The youngsters, aged seven and eight, had been playing on a building site in Hollingwood Drive, Reedsholme, yesterday , when they climbed on to what was described as a very "sticky and soggy" mound of mud.

They sank into the mud and when a resident of a house opposite the site climbed the mound to pull them out he also became stuck.

Sub-officer Nigel Boden said: "There was a big pile of mud which had got wet and a neighbour had put a wooden pallet down to try and get them out.

"When we arrived there were three of them confined to the top of the mound.

"We just approached them from a different angle and used a triple extension ladder. It took about five to ten minutes."

"An ambulance did attend but no one was injured - although one of the boys lost his boots."

Mud trap victims rescued by fire crew

FIREFIGHTERS in Rawtenstall had to rescue two children who got stuck in mud - as well as a neighbour who had tried to help them out.

The youngsters, aged seven and eight, had been playing on a building site in Hollingwood Drive, Reedsholme, yesterday , when they climbed on to what was described as a very "sticky and soggy" mound of mud.

They sank into the mud and when a resident of a house opposite the site climbed the mound to pull them out he also became stuck.

Sub-officer Nigel Boden said: "There was a big pile of mud which had got wet and a neighbour had put a wooden pallet down to try and get them out.

"When we arrived there were three of them confined to the top of the mound.

"We just approached them from a different angle and used a triple extension ladder. It took about five to ten minutes."

"An ambulance did attend but no one was injured - although one of the boys lost his boots."

Trapped in mud

FOUR young children had to be rescued after becoming trapped in mud.

The youngsters, including a girl, were playing on marsh land off Roach Street at Blackford Bridge on Sunday (March 17) when they got stuck.

One of the boys used his mobile phone to alert his mother to their predicament. She called the fire brigade.

Crews from Bury and Whitefield arrived at 12.30pm and used ropes and life-jackets to secure the children until they were rescued.

Three were walked to safety while the fourth was dug out of the thick mud.

None of the four, aged between eight and ten, has been named. They were checked over by paramedics before being reunited with their parents.

Boy stuck in mud saved by pal

A TEENAGER feared for his life as he battled to free himself from a muddy quagmire.

Paul Campbell had gone to retrieve a football from a building site off Limefield Brow, Bury, when he sank in mud first up to his knees and then, as he struggled, up to his chest.

The 14-year-old said: "Every time I tried to pull myself clear I sank deeper into it. I was panicking. I was slowly sinking and feared I would go right under."

Fortunately for Paul, his pal Steven Brooks grabbed a nearby ladder and laid it across the mud to allow Paul, of New Cateaton Street, to cling to it for support.

Steven (15), of Cornfield Close, then used his mobile phone to call the fire brigade to the scene at the site.

Bury leading fireman Gary Costin said: "We created a platform with our ladders, dug down the mud by hand and used brute force to free the boy."

Paul, a pupil at Derby High School, was hauled from the mud on to the ladders and was taken to Bury General Hospital for treatment to an ankle injury before being allowed home.

"It was like a laugh at first, but when I saw Paul sinking further I became worried," added Steven, a pupil of Bury CE High School.

Paul's trainers are still stuck in the mud pit which firefighters discovered was 12ft deep.

Paul said: "When the mud reached my chest I felt more solid ground beneath my feet and I wasn't sinking as fast.

"Steven did really well to react as quick as he did and I thank him. The situation could have been a lot worse."

Both boys received a stern warning from the housing development bosses to keep away from the site for their own safety.

Meanwhile, Bury Council is investigating the safety aspects of the site. A spokesman said: "We will make an assessment whether this site falls under health and safety at work legislation.

"If it does, then we will notify the Health and Safety Executive.".

Pictured at the scene of the accident are quick-thinking Steven Brooks (left) and cleaned up Paul Campbell.

Girl rescued in mud terror

FIREFIGHTERS used a triple extension ladder and a rope to rescue a 12-year-old girl stuck to her waist in a muddy pond.

Jennifer Swift, from Darwen, had gone into the water off Whitehall Road in the town to get a stick but sank to her waist in thick mud.

A crew from Darwen fire station, paramedics and police attended the scene at about 8.25 last night.

Sub-officer Steve Ryan, said: "She had spotted a stick in the pond and had jumped in to get it.

"There was three feet of mud below the water and she could not get out.

"It took about five or 10 minutes to pull her out. She was none the worse for her ordeal, though she lost one of her shoes."

Mud-trap boy in brush with death

A TERRIFIED schoolboy had to be hauled to safety after sinking to his waist in a muddy lodge as he took a short cut home.

And today Adam Ashworth's mum praised his two rescuers and claimed her son could have remained stranded all night if they hadn't spotted him struggling to free himself.

Tracey has vowed to find out why the drained lodge behind Ormerod Street, Accrington, wasn't fenced off.

Adam, of Bullough Close, Accrington, was on his way home from Peel Park Junior School, Manor Street, at 3.30pm yesterday when he decided to walk across the old lodge.

He said: "I thought it was concrete all the way across but it was mud. I started going down and then I fell in it."

Dale Moore, of Hopwood Street, Accrington, looked out of the canteen window at nearby SDL Trophies and saw Adam struggling to get free about ten yards from the edge. He called his friend Russell Nicol, of Elmfield Street, Church, and ran outside.

Dale said: "He was up to his waist and sinking as we got to him. He was screaming and we told him not to panic and not to thrash about.

"We had to pull a fence down to get wood to lie on top of the mud. I pulled and he wriggled his legs and I got him out."

The men carried Adam, who had lost both trainers, back to SDL Trophys and drove him home.

Mum Tracey said: "He was absolutely covered in mud, crying and absolutely freezing. I ran him a bath and I thought I had stopped him crying but when I went to get him some clean clothes, he started again. He's a tough nut, you can't make him cry. That's what got to me most of all.

"God only knows what could have happened to him if they hadn't looked out of the window."

Tracey had assumed he had called at his aunt's and said she wouldn't have started looking for him until 4.30pm.

"It would have been dark by then and I would never have thought of looking there. He could have been stuck there all night, or worse."

Death trap mine site blast

A FORMER opencast mine in Westhoughton has been declared a "death trap" for children after filling with heavy rain.

Town and district councillor David Wilkinson pictured has condemned the owner of the mine for not providing proper security.

But Rackwood Colliery Co Ltd says it is doing all it can to keep kids out and has begun draining the pit.

Cllr David Wilkinson said the former Bag Lane site, off Lower Leigh Road, was poorly fenced and dangerous.

He said: "It's a death trap. The fences are down and there's no difficulty in getting through. If the water levels go up the security should go up - this will keep nobody out."

He said the water was at least six feet deep in parts.

In May last year, a 10-year-old girl fell into thick mud while playing near the pit. She was rescued by a man living nearby - but he got stuck as he performed the rescue.

But Tom Allchurch, projects manager at the company based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, said the company had already employed a firm to repair the fencing and another firm was pumping out the water.

He said the water was being filtered through two large pools to take away poisonous sediment before being let into Lee Brook.

He said: "It is very difficult to keep people off the site. In the hot summer of 1996, even parents were breaking down the fence and lying next to the water pools on towels.

"We are conscious, however, of the potential dangers and intend to keep it as safe as possible."

He said emptying the pit would take eight weeks and added a man was being employed during half-term to stop youngsters from getting on to the site.

Work at the opencast mine stopped last summer and most of the hole which was left was filled in.

The company has now applied for planning permission to fill the rest with debris from the Gib Field Tip slag heap nearby.

Hero Andy to the rescue

RESCUERS praised a hero who helped save a stranded youngster trapped in sinking sand on the banks of the Lune this week. Sainsbury's security guard Andy McVittie, 22, rushed to help Andrew Rouse of Ridge St, Lancaster who was isolated on the sand and surrounded by water on the south side of the river near the Greyhound Bridge. The petrified boy, who had walked down from Skerton Bridge in an effort to retrieve his football, cried out to passers-by who raised the alarm.

Andy remembered: "I was on my lunch and a woman came in to say there's a lad stuck in the river. So I ran out in completely the wrong direction! Then I ran back and jumped over the wall into the mud.

At the bottom I managed to get under the bridge, crawled to where he was and jumped on the pile of stones he was on.

"He was crying and was whimpering a bit. I chatted to him, asked him his name and what he had been doing and he got a bit better. The lad did well when he had to walk along the ladder to be hoisted when the fire brigade showed up. The whole thing was really alarming. Then the fire brigade chucked down a harness for me and I nearly fell off!

"But I was just glad to be able to reassure the lad." Assistant divisional officer Dominic Harrison of Lancaster Fire Station said: "The boy had been with his sister, who hadn't climbed down, and she came running to the back door of the fire station which is about 200 yards away.

"She was wailing and panicking. We were very quickly at the scene. When we got there the security from Sainsbury's had lowered himself down to be with the boy and comfort him.

"The tide comes in very quickly at that point and we could see that they were standing on nothing. Water was lapping around them and it must have come in about another foot or so... the lad was very lucky. He could easily have been killed. River banks are not playgrounds. Had he been a couple of miles further up or down the river the end result could have been quite different."

Quicksand warning after four rescued

COASTGUARDS are warning about the dangers of quicksand after four people were rescued over the weekend on the Merseyside coast.

A woman got stuck in mud at Crosby on Saturday and her children raised the alarm.

Later that evening three people became stranded off Southport pier when they got stuck knee deep in quicksand.

In both cases the tide was coming in -- coastguards say all four had a lucky escape and want people to be aware of the dangers.

Man critical after rescue from mud trap

A man is critical in hospital after becoming stuck up to his waist in mud at a West Midlands park.

Richard McGuinness was airlifted to safety by a police helicopter after calling emergency services on his mobile phone.

The 45-year-old was taking wildlife photographs at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, when he got stuck in the mud after getting lost and suffering an epileptic fit.

Mr McGuinness, from West Bromwich, spent an hour-and-a-half talking to operators as firefighters, police officers and paramedics tried to find him.

Michael Hewitt, of Sutton Coldfield Fire Station, said: "It was lucky this man had a mobile phone because where he was no-one would have found him.

"Stuck in freezing conditions like this overnight, I really feel we would have been looking for a corpse today if it hadn't have been for that phone."

THREE day-trippers last night relived the dramatic moment they were pulled from quicksand on Southport beach. Philip Prosser, his brother Andrew and girlfriend Siobhan Kilburn were just minutes from being drowned when they were rescued. The trio were taking a stroll on the beach on Saturday evening when they started to sink as the tide rapidly advanced towards them. They were saved just minutes before the gully they were in was flooded with seawater. Andrew, 15, Philip, 19, and 20-year-old Siobhan, all of Bakers Green Road, Huyton, were enjoying the warm weather when disaster struck. They had tried to run to more solid ground, but the pull of the sand was too strong. The group struggled to free their legs but could not stop themselves sinking deeper into the mud. They shouted to onlookers on the nearby pier who raised the alarm and Southport lifeboat was called to pull them to safety. Their ordeal lasted more than half an hour but last night they revealed they took their mind off the danger by cracking jokes. Miss Kilburn, a nursery nurse, said: "We had been to the beach thousands of times before but had never walked along this particular stretch." Philip Prosser, a contract cleaner, added: "We just started sliding and slipping, then we were sinking. "Andrew was running to get out, then Siobhan fell and suddenly Andrew was up to his waist in the sand." James Sheldon, coxswain of Southport Inshore Lifeboat, said: "We were on the scene within 12 minutes of being paged. "We managed to throw a large sheet of wood on to the sand nearby. One of the crew was on this and threw ropes to them to pull them free." Andrew Prosser, a pupil at Ruffwood School, in Kirkby, was trapped deeper than his friends. He said: "Your legs go dead and you get bad cramp. The sand gets tighter and tighter around you and it got really cold." The three friends were taken to Southport lifeboat station where the worst of the mud was hosed off them and Andrew was wrapped in thermal blankets. Earlier in the day, Crosby coastguard, Sefton Rangers and Merseyside firefighters were called to rescue a woman stuck in mud at Crosby.

Keep out! Youngsters enjoying themselves off Lydney Pier - but it can be dangerous.  

A LOCAL man is calling for increased safety measures at Lydney harbour after racing into the Severn to alert three youngsters and an adult who were strolling on the sandbanks completely unaware the tide had turned. Neil James, 34, of Stanford Road, Lydney, called two of the youngsters to follow him while the man had to pick up the third and run off the sandbank just yards ahead of the tide. “It was not until afterwards that I thought how lucky they had been. They had no idea what was happening and we were probably a minute or less away from a very real disaster,” he said. Mr James had been walking with his girl-friend, Claire Sibley, on New Year’s eve when they noticed the children run onto the sands and into the middle of the river. A man followed them. “We watched them for a couple of minutes and then I spoke to a lady who was obviously with them and asked if they were local and knew the river. It was then that I saw the tide was coming in and that they were going to be cut off. “I ran down the mud and over the sandbank and shouted at them to get off. The girl and a young lad followed me but the man had to run after the other youngster. He could see we were running and he followed us,” said Mr James. “They were less than a minute away from being cut off. They were on a tump of sand and if they had not come when they did the tide would have cut off their exit,” he said. Mr James recalled the last Severn tragedy at Lydney when three members of a Berry Hill family were lost after being cut off by the tide. “The same sort of thing could easily have happened here. Local people know how dangerous the river can be but the sandbanks can look very inviting when in fact they are very dangerous,” he said. “It was not until afterwards that I realised how inadequate rescue facilities are at the harbour. The warning signs are not very big and I think they are in the wrong place. “And there is no way of calling for help. If we had wanted assistance on New Year’s eve the nearest telephone was over a mile away at the railway station. By then it would be far too late,” he said. Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd 08 January

RAF rescues 3 Irish kids caught in killer mud.

THREE Co Tipperary youngsters were rescued yesterday from mudflats - just four miles from where a youngster recently died after getting trapped.

The brothers and sister got stuck after wandering one and a half miles from shore at Steart Sands near Bridgwater in Somerset.

Their mother raised the alarm and the children were rescued by an RAF helicopter, which was returning from an exercise in Wales.

The boys, aged five and 11, and their 13-year-old sister, were taken to hospital but were later discharged unhurt.The incident happened late Friday afternoon about four miles from where a five-year-old girl died six weeks ago after becoming trapped.

Lelaina Hall, from St John's, Worcester, died in hospital after being rescued from the nearby beach at Brean, near Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset.

Lelaina got into difficulties while walking at low tide with her mother, her mother's boyfriend and his two children.

Bob Peel of Swansea coastguard said: "It is very dangerous for people unfamiliar with an area to wander a long way from the shoreline.

"This is just a few miles from where the young girl drowned and shows again the danger of getting stuck in the mud.

"The coast is a beautiful place but it does hold dangers and we would ask parents to be alert."

COASTGUARDS today issued a warning to beach users.

Liverpool coastguard watch manager Paul Parkes said: ``The warm weather has attracted many people on to the sands, but those venturing onto beaches should be aware of hidden dangers.

``Gullies can easily fill with mud which can be deep in places and mud spots are difficult to see.

``Our advice is not to venture in to places where mud is suspected.''

Coastguard watch assistant Craig Sim added: ``The incident over the weekend in Southport just goes to show the dangers - they were very lucky.''

Mud snares boys as they go bug-hunting

A BUG-catching expedition turned into a dramatic rescue for two nine-year-old boys at Halcombe yesterday when they got stuck in a mudhole in a backyard farm dam. Rescuer and firefighter Paul Hughes said today he understood the attraction of the dam, as he had played in the same paddock as a boy.

Although he was able to laugh about it with one of the boys, Mitford Brereton, yesterday, it was no joke when the boys were stuck for more than half an hour.

The boys had been bug-catching in the paddock behind Mitford's house when friend Campbell Davis waded out too deep.

"I just went in to help him," said Mitford. But he too got stuck. The mud was up to Campbell's chest and he was sinking.

When mother Kathy Brereton heard their calls, she wasn't too concerned at first.

"I came outside and thought they were just whooping and having fun."

But she quickly realised their distress, called 111 and the Halcombe volunteer fire brigade came to the rescue.

Paul Hughes waded in and began digging around them before he was able to pull them out. He said 37-kilogram Mitford felt a lot heavier today than he did during the rescue.

Mitford's back was wrenched as he was pulled out and he was treated at Palmerston North Hospital.

Boy, 10 dies in muddy lagoon

The body of a ten-year-old boy was recovered from mud in a shallow quarry lagoon yesterday.

Gary Tomlinson had been playing with a friend in the quarry at Heywood, Greater Manchester, on Saturday and failed to return home.

His mother reported her son missing at 9.35pm, sparking an extensive 12-hour search of the area by police, aided by the force's helicopter.

Greater Manchester Police said officers searched though the night before Gary's body was eventually pulled from the mud shortly after 9am yesterday.

A spokesman would not give the cause of death but said that following a post mortem by the Home Office pathologist, the death was not being treated as suspicious.

"This was a very tragic incident in which a young boy has lost his life," said the spokesman.

"He was discovered trapped in a swirly, muddy, lagoon in a quarry on Pilsworth Road in Heywood, which contains a number of lagoons of water. It is terrible terrain and an officer who attempted to reach the body also became stuck and had to be rescued.

"It would appear that the boy had gone to the quarry to play with a ten-year-old friend who has since been interviewed by police.

"A post mortem has been carried out and there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances. The coroner has been informed."

Fears are growing for the safety of a 16-year-old boy who disappeared after the boat he was sailing in capsized in the freezing waters of Loch Lomond.

A huge police air and sea search for Stephen McCallum, of Kirkintilloch, has so far failed to trace the teenager who has been missing since 1am yesterday.

His friend Stephen Smith, aged 17, also of Kirkintilloch, who was also in the dinghy, managed to swim to the shore to raise the alarm.

A search was mounted but poor visibility during the night hindered the rescuers.

Inspector William Brown of Strathclyde Police, who is co- ordinating the search, said: "Concern is now growing for Stephen's safety. We are continuing an extensive search of the area in an effort to trace him."

Divers from Strathclyde Police underwater unit, a helicopter from air sea rescue, Lomond Mountain Rescue and the Luss rescue boat have been combing the loch and shore.

So far, only the overturned dinghy has been found.

It is believed the loch reached a depth of 600ft where the boat was found.

The boys had been camping with about 20 friends on the west shore of the loch near the holiday village of Tarbet.

BLOOMINGTON - An 11-year-old boy stuck in mud slightly above his waist was rescued by Bloomington firefighters after attempts by neighbors to pull him out with a rope failed Saturday afternoon. Mark Lello was at retention pond near Sable Oaks Court in the White Eagle subdivision on Bloomington's east edge when firefighters got the call at 1:35 p.m., a fire report said. They arrived four minutes later and were at the site a little over an hour.

"He was just sucked down into the mud. I have to say it was scary at the time," said his mother, Joanie Lello.

Acting Assistant Fire Chief Ken Sylvester, Capt. Gary Sushka and Engineer Dave Talley used three backboards in a triangle around the youth to pull him out. The mud had formed where water drained in from a ditch about two feet from the edge of the pond.

"We dug down with our hands and pulled him free from the mud," said Sylvester.

Mark Lello and several other boys had gone to the pond to fish, his mother said. One of the boys cut himself on a broken drainage tile and when Mark went to help him, he sank into the mud. The other boy ended up going to an emergency room to get five stitches.

There were two rescue squad personnel and two Lifeline paramedics at the scene in addition to some neighbors. The spot of land had been more solid a few days earlier before the recent rains, said Lello's mother.

She said it could have been far more serious - one of the boys in the group was shorter and she estimated he would have been in mud up to his chin.

"I have to say it was scary at the time," said Joanie Lello. She estimated it was about 30 minutes before she and her husband, Ray, were contacted. They live on Cumbria Drive in Oak Ridge subdivision, which is northwest of White Eagle.

"We've talked about not doing this anymore," said his mother on the visits to the retention pond. "I think he has learned his lesson the hard way."

"He had mud from head to toe from when he was trying to get out," said Sylvester, adding that in his 22 years on the fire department, the rescue ranked in the top 10 percent of the most unusual.

Joanie Lello said her son loves the outdoor and brings home turtles and injured birds.

But by early Saturday evening, Lello was cleaned up and presumably enjoying the indoors at a birthday party and sleepover.

Anthony DiLeone, 16, and Matt Chaney, 15, were walking along the rim of a rain-soaked construction pit in the Ramsgate neighborhood Thursday afternoon when they began to sink into the earth. DiLeone sank first - but his friend sank longer.

When Chaney stepped into the soupy mud, he sank up to his waist, where he remained for much of the afternoon. It took 20 rescue workers nearly two hours to free him. The teen was taken to a hospital for hypothermia, but otherwise seemed fine after the ordeal, a paramedic said.

DiLeone and Chaney had biked from their homes about two miles away to meet friends at the construction site at the end of Sydenham Boulevard, DiLeone said.

They planned to go mudsliding, but when they arrived, their friends weren't there, he said. They biked to the far side of the pit, parked their bikes and walked about 50 yards before they started sinking.

Joel Price, who works at the site, found them near the edge of the pit where the construction workers pile topsoil and backfill. Two weeks of rain had turned the topsoil and backfill into a thick soup of mud.

"It looked like sturdy mud," said DiLeone, who managed to step out of the waist-deep mud before his friend got stuck.

DiLeone tried to pull his friend out but couldn't. Then they saw a truck approaching the pit and waved the driver down.

The driver, Price, had stopped by to see if he'd be able to work the next day. Price tried pulling Chaney out - first by hand and then by attaching a rope to a bulldozer, he said. Neither worked.

He called 911 at 3:45 p.m., a half-hour after Chaney had sunk.

A crew of about 20 fire and rescue workers dug and pulled for nearly two hours before Chaney was free of the mud's grip, Battalion Chief Hugh M. Willey said.

"The mud was like soup," Willey said. "It acts like a suction once you get in."

Chaney was in stable condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital on Thursday night.

"One of the firefighters said I actually saved his life because he wouldn't have been able to make it out there, the water was so cold," Price said.

Rescue workers hauled in about 25 pieces of plywood, some as large as 4 feet by 8 feet, Willey said. They used shovels and their hands to dig the mud away from Chaney and the planks of plywood to keep it away, he said.

They slid in a backboard and attached it to Chaney. They also put him in a harness attached to a taut rope to keep him from sinking deeper, Willey said. And as night fell, they lighted the site with a generator and lights, and continued to dig.

"It was a long process trying to get him out of there," Price said. "They'd dig and then the mud would fall back in. They had to dig a lot by hand because of his legs.

"When they finally got him out, he was scared and real cold. But he seemed OK. He was still talking."

Pittsfield teen-agers escape gravel pit Mud nearly envelops young fishermen

PITTSFIELD -- Two Pittsfield teen-agers fishing in a gravel pit misjudged the stability of the pit walls Wednesday and ended up stuck in muck -- one up to his hips, the other up to his neck. "I thought we were going to die," Peter Boucher, 14, said Wednesday afternoon. "I was really scared. I almost began saying my prayers."

Boucher and Matt Bennett, also 14, had headed out about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday for a simple summer day of fishing at the gravel pit.

The pit has existed for years alongside the Sebasticook River off Hartland Avenue but has been excavated recently as part of an expansion project for the J.W. Parks Golf Course.

According to Pittsfield Police Chief Steve Emery, the construction work has created a dangerous situation where the walls of the pit are 20 feet high and unstable. As the pit is being filled in, he said, the fill is turning the bottom of the pit into mud.

"It's just like quicksand down there," he said.

Boucher said that he and Bennett were walking along the edge of the pit when they cast their lines into the water.

"All of sudden, Matt slipped and I went to grab him," the youth said. "The rocks just kept falling out from under our feet. Then we were in the water. It was about up to my stomach, but Matt was up to his neck.

"My first thought was `We're going to die.' Matt was yelling and screaming for help," he said.

Bennett said the water, sand and gravel combined to make a heavy mud that prevented him from moving toward the pit's edge.

"It felt like it was pulling me back down and that I was sinking," he said. "I was very scared."

Boucher said the gravel continued slowly to roll into the pit, and he was afraid they would be buried. "I managed to get to the side and kept yelling to Matt to come to me," said Boucher.

Just before noon Wednesday, a Hartland Avenue resident reported to police that he could hear boys screaming for help from the pit. At first, fire and rescue personnel believed the boys were drowning in either the pit or the nearby river, and the Fire Department rescue boat was dispatched.

There was also confusion about just which pit was the scene of the emergency as another pit exists about a quarter-mile north on the same road.

Emery said that by the time rescuers arrived, the two boys had managed to crawl out of the mud. "They weren't hurt," he said, "but they were pretty scared."

"The whole thing took seven minutes," the chief said, pleased at the fast response of rescue and fire personnel. When the call was received, two Pittsfield officers, state Trooper Bernie Brunette, Sebasticook Valley Ambulance and half a dozen firefighters rushed to the scene.

Emery said he had asked the landowner, Stanley Kitchen, to post the area and possibly fence it off until construction is complete.

As for the two teens: "I am never going fishing there again," vowed Bennett.



11:00 - 22 April 2002

A CLEETHORPES brother and sister became stuck in quicksand on the resort's beach and were left facing drowning in an incoming tide.

They were rescued by a group of quick-thinking men and women, who were later assisted by a coastguard crew.

The mother of the two youngsters has called for better signposts warning visitors of the dangers of quicksand along Cleethorpes' front.

She also appealed for their rescuers to come forward to allow her to thank them for her children's lives.

Janette Wharton (34), of Elliston Street, Cleethorpes, said: "I'll even clean their trainers for them!"

Emma Wharton (11) was the first to become stuck in the quicksand at about 7pm on Friday as she and her brother Aharon played with friends, including Adam Morris

Emma had tried to clean up her shoes in a shallow pool of water. Within seconds, she was sinking up to her knees and screamed out.

Aharon went to her rescue and he too became stuck and sinking fast.

"We thought we were going die.The tide was coming in. I thought I will never see my family again," said a tearful Aharon (12). He tried digging himself out but was stranded in the sand for up to 10 minutes.

Adam and other friends ran from the beach to the road near Wonderland and tried to flag down cars. Many just drove by, but a group of adults walking nearby heard their screams and went to help.

The brother and sister were plucked to safety. Coastguards later took them home.

They did not need medical aid, but were badly shaken.

Aharon, a pupil at Matthew Humberstone School in Cleethorpes, said if he had the chance to meet his rescuers again, he would like to thank them.

His mum said: "You hear about these things, but you never imagine it will happen to you or your family."

She does not know identity of the rescuers, other than that one of them is called Claire.

"If I could meet them I would thank them. I could wash their trainers!" she said.

NELC beach safety officer Buster Hammond said: "There is an area of soft mud near Wonderland that we refer to as the sunken forest.

"My advice would be to keep to the dry areas and do not wander out onto the sand banks."

He added: "There are notices warning people of the danger."

Boy, 8, stuck in pit 2 1/2 hours

NORWOOD -- An 8-year-old boy who skipped religious education classes yesterday to be outdoors on a beautiful, warm afternoon fell into a construction pit and was stuck for 2 1/2 hours in waist-deep mud. Sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s lured Charlie Maider and a friend to the construction site on Consolidated Electrical Services property at 86 Morse St.

At about 5:30 p.m., he slipped while throwing a rock and fell into the pit. The water came up to his chest, and his legs were stuck in mud. The friend ran for help.

"It was very cold," Charlie said today.

Two unidentified neighbors ran to the pit and stayed with the boy until firefighters arrived. One wrapped him in a blanket.

Firefighters were unable to pull him out, but used a hose to pump water into the mud beneath him. "Then he slid right out," said firefighter Jim Flaherty.

Charlie emerged from the pit at about 8 p.m.

"One of his new boots is still down there in the mud," said his mother, Jeanne Maider. "One of the firefighters who got Charlie out got stuck himself for a minute or two.

Maider discovered that her son had skipped his religion class when she went to pick him up at 4 p.m.

While her 12-year-old daughter, Carla, waited by the telephone at their Washington Street home, Maider began searching for Charlie. While she was making the rounds of his usual haunts, the fire department called the house.

When she got to the construction pit, four blocks from the house, fire Lt. Mike Costello and firefighter Phil Morrison were in the 15- by 20-foot pit with Charlie, and Flaherty and firefighter Rob Henry were helping out from solid ground.

Firefighters Faye McDonough and Kevin Kent removed the boy's wet clothes and warmed him in the ambulance. He recovered sufficiently to go home from there.

The episode was the youngster's second misadventure in seven months. In October he got himself stuck in a tree in his back yard and wouldn't come down because he was afraid he would be arrested.

After that, police gave Charlie and the other neighborhood children badges and gift certificates for ice cream.

Maider described her son as a "loving and trusting boy" who still wants to be able to roam the way he could when the family lived in rural Wareham.

"He got over the police, and now he's met the fire department," his mother said.

Charlie said he's never going to skip religion class again.

Boy, 11, comatose after near-drowning Joshua Conlon's family thinks Wapato Lake signs aren't clear about danger

Seven-year-old Megan Conlon doesn't understand what it means that her brother Joshua is in a coma. She yells at the side of his hospital bed, trying to wake him up so they can wrestle like they used to. He most likely will never wrestle with her again.

On Aug. 8 he nearly drowned at a dock in Wapato Lake. Family and friends say they wonder why the dock area is not more clearly marked with no-swimming signs or made safer for swimmers.

Paramedics estimated the 11-year-old Tacoma boy was submerged 30 to 40 minutes, swallowing silt and water. He was not expected to live past his first night at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, where loved ones gathered, preparing for the worst.

But he hung on, and now is listed in serious but stable condition. Within a week he will go to Ashley House, a group care facility for medically fragile children.

"For someone who's supposed to be dead, he's doing remarkable," said Shelly Conlon, Joshua's mother.

Joshua spent most of the day of the accident playing near the South Tacoma lake with a friend. He called his mother from the park to bring him some swimming shorts and fishing poles.

She and Megan brought the items and stayed with the two boys at the park before leaving about 6:15 p.m. The boys said they wanted to stay and fish and would walk home.

About an hour and a half later police arrived at the Conlon home a few blocks from the park.

"I thought the boys had gotten in trouble, " Shelly Conlon said. "The last thing I thought was that (Josh) was hurt."

Conlon said that while she was still at the lake with the boys, she showed them what area was OK to swim in, and told them not to jump off the dock, which is closed to swimming.

But Joshua, a good swimmer, did leap from the dock - and his feet got stuck in the mud. His 11-year-old friend tried to rescue him but couldn't pull him free.

"He was just being a kid," Shelly Conlon said. "They like to jump and dive. He was just being Josh. As much as you want to protect them and keep them in a glass bubble, you can't."

The family does, however, wonder why the signs at the park have not been changed since the days when it was a popular swimming spot.

"It's attractive to kids," said Conlon, who used to swim there when she was a child. "If they knew it was dangerous, why do they leave it open for kids?"

Park officials, however, do not consider the spot dangerous and have no plans to change the signs, said Susan Hulbert, communications manager for Metro Parks. Hulbert said the park district always recommends children swim under parental supervision.

Sheila McMullan, Joshua's aunt, said she wonders why park officials don't take down the "swim at your own risk" signs that are currently posted near the swimming area and replace them with "danger" signs.

The international no-swimming symbol is posted on the sides of the docks but the signs are not easily seen, except from the water.

The mucky quality of the bottom is due to increased algae growth for this time of year, but park employees told Hulbert the water quality is fit for swimming.

"I know things happen," McMullan said. "It's just so sad. People need to be more aware of what the bottom (of Wapato Lake) is like."

Family members describe Joshua as active and energetic, with a strong interest in sports. He has a lot of friends, many of whom have visited him at the hospital. In his Arlington Elementary fifth-grade yearbook, he said his hobby is wrestling and his favorite books are the Harry Potter series.

"Josh was a very good kid, very active," McMullan said. "He loved life."

Family members are trying not to think of Joshua in the past tense, but the prognosis for full recovery is poor. Drowning kills brain cells that the body cannot regenerate, hospital officials said.

"The part that makes him a person is dead," Conlon said. "But he still needs his mother."

Though doctors say it's only reflexes, the family sees movement in his face as reason to hope. They say his face moves when he hears his favorite rap music and when he hears something funny.

"We have a second chance with him. We can't feel sorry for ourselves; it's never going to be easy," Conlon said.

"Josh is a miracle so far."

An account has been set up at KeyBank branches for contributions to cover medical expenses.

Two `best friends' drown after one gets stuck in quicksand

Temerloh TEMERLOH, Mon. - Two best friends enjoying the school holidays with a dip in Sungai Pahang, near Kampung Padang Tenggala, drowned after one got stuck in quicksand yesterday. The friend tried to help but got into difficulties and drowned.

Three others who were with them tried to help but failed.

In the incident about 5.30pm, 14-year-old Mohamad Farhan Hamdan of Jalan Bukit Angin 3, was swimming when he got stuck in the quicksand.

District Police Chief Assistant Commissioner Tan Seng Eng said Mohd Naim Mokhtar, also 14, of Kampung Long, Bukit Angin, went to Mohamad Farhan's aid but got into difficulties too.

The boys were in Form Two of Sekolah Menengah Sri Bahagia here.

"Seeing his best friend trapped in the quicksand, Mohd Naim went to Mohd Farhan's rescue but he got into difficulties and both of them drowned," he said.

Tan said when the other three boys failed to rescue Mohd Farhan and Mohd Naim, they went to the nearby village to seek help.

"Police, joined by the Temerloh Fire and Rescue Department and Civil Defence Department personnel and villagers then organised an operation to locate the bodies.

"We recovered the body of Mohamad Farhan near the spot about 6.20pm yesterday while Mohd Naim's body was found 500 metres down river about 2.15pm today.

RESCUE - Boy freed from silt and sand --- Topeka firefighters said a boy about 10 years old became stuck in silt and sand almost up to his waist Sunday in North Topeka.

Topeka Fire Department Capt. Harold Dibbern said firefighters rescued the boy. Dibbern said he was found trapped in a wet mixture that was "almost like quicksand. Once you get in there, you can't get out without help."

The boy's name wasn't available. He turned down a trip to a hospital in an American Medical Response ambulance that was on hand.

Firefighters were called at 6:33 p.m. to the scene in an open area just south of Coachlight Village Mobile Home Court North, 195 N.E. Coachlight Drive. Coachlight Drive runs east from N. Kansas Avenue and is about one-quarter mile north of US-24 highway.

Dibbern said firefighters were told the boy had been stuck for about an hour at a water hole in an area where some sort of construction was under way. Dibbern said firefighters set ladders atop the silt and sand, then walked on those to the child and pulled him out.

Kuantan KUANTAN, Mon. - A 10-year-old pupil crossing a mud-filled drain became stuck up to his waist when the hardened surface layer caved in under his weight in Bandar Indera Mahkota about 2pm today. And as Chia Chong Hong screamed for help, his three school friends tried desperately to pull him out. They failed, and the Fire and Rescue Department was called in. Firemen and passers-by took 10 minutes to pull him to safety.

Chia and the friends were supposed to wait for a van to take them to the Indera Mahkota Sports Complex for swimming lessons but they decided to walk instead.

When they came to the drain, Chia thought the dried mud was hard enough for them to walk across. He did and the surface caved in, plunging him waist deep in mud.

District Fire Department operations officer Aris Jili said seven firemen went to rescue Chia.

HOLDEN - A man and two children drowned in a pond on James Chapel Road in Holden Sunday afternoon, Detective Supervisor Norris Hull said this morning.

Michael Patrick Hester, 4, Ricky Allen Hester, 9, and Patrick McNabb, 39, were found in a pond that was close to McNabb's house by a man who went to fish and saw the youngest boy floating in the pond, Hull said. The man called 911. Hull, of the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, said they received the call about 3:30 p.m. Shoes and clothes were found on the bank of the pond. Hull said one scenario is the trio decided to go wading. He also speculated the shoes were kicked off in a hurry because of an emergency. "We don't know exactly how it happened," he said. "We don't suspect any foul play at this time. It's still under investigation." The children's mother, 30-year-old Elsie Hester, had brought her children from Metairie to visit their grandmother, Cindy McNabb, for the day. Hester, of 3620 Airline Drive, is an administrative assistant in human resources for Citizens Consulting Inc. in Metairie. Michael Hester was a student at Discovery PreSchool in Metairie; Ricky was a fourth-grader at J.C. Ellis Elementary. This morning, Cindy McNabb said she and her husband had been looking forward all week for the kids to visit. Her new husband was thrilled to be a new grandfather with the boys, McNabb, 55, said. They were married in June and just bought their home at 28260 James Chapel Road about six months ago. The family decided to have spaghetti, Ricky's favorite, and McNabb asked the boys if they wanted to ride to the store with her and their mother. Her husband was taking turns giving the boys rides on the riding lawnmower. Only Brandon went to the store, she said. When they came back from the store, they were told by another family member that Patrick McNabb had walked the boys to the pond, McNabb said. Since Brandon wanted to go to the pond too, McNabb walked him over there and saw a crowd of people. "I saw my grandson in the water," she said. "He was floating face up." The paramedics were just standing there and the people on the bank did nothing to help, she said. "Halfway there, I saw the paramedics and my baby's green shirt in the water and I started running," Elsie Hester said just hours after the drownings. "The paramedics were just standing there. I got in the water and got my baby out and pulled him to shore." "I didn't see my other son. They pushed me off my baby. I was screaming for my other son. I ran around the pond screaming for him," Hester said Sunday. "The cops wouldn't let me go back. They escorted me across the street. About an hour and a half later, they found all of them." McNabb said she was told to stay back from the pond because it was a crime scene. "They told me it was a crime scene and threatened me with arrest. They read me my rights," she said of the police. She believes they decided to go wading and the kids ventured too far out. She said Ricky was found close to his brother in the "quicksand sludge" that lines the pond. Hester said she thinks Michael Patrick fell in the pond and Ricky jumped in to try and save him and then McNabb jumped in to try and save them both. Ricky and McNabb got caught in the sludge mud that covers the pond, Hester said. Rescue workers had to dig around in it to find their bodies, but Michael was light enough to float. "The coroner has my babies now. They are going to do an autopsy," Hester said. "I don't know how to make arrangements. I don't know how I'll bury my babies." Both McNabb and her daughter need help with funeral arrangements, she said. McNabb will make arrangements locally and asked that anyone who would like to help with funeral expenses for her husband could donate at the Whitney Bank in Denham Springs in the name of Cynthia and Patrick McNabb. Funeral arrangements for the boys are incomplete, and Hester said she will likely use a Metairie funeral home. "I want to take my babies home," she said Sunday afternoon.


Coastguards last night warned sinking mud along the West's shoreline is turning parts of the region's shoreline into a lethal quagmire. Their claim came after one of their team became trapped in mud while on a rescue mission in Somerset. He had to be plucked to safety after he sank up to his waist in Watchet harbour - just yards from where children play. The town's coastguards say mud is being washed up from Minehead to Steart Point. Last night they warned another life could be lost like Lelaina Hall and said West Somerset district council had ignored their warnings. Station officer Nick Tapp said: "It's frightening how deep and soft the mud was out there. "It was like a slurry pit at the bottom of the slipway and this is where you often see kids crab fishing." Locals claim that the danger has been created by the dredging of Watchet harbour, with slurry dumped in the Bristol Channel now washing ashore with the tide. But developers Dean and Dyball deny this, saying that silt dredged from the marina was placed in a licensed dumping ground and would have dispersed safely.


When Donna Freeman read about the tragic death of little Lelaina Hall, her blood ran cold. As a girl of 14, Donna and a group of friends became stuck in the mudflats on Brean beach and Lelaina's story brought the terror flooding back. 

The pals had been enjoying the sands - which adjoin Berrow beach where Lelaina, five, became trapped - when they decided to walk to the water's edge. But as they dipped their toes, they suddenly found themselves being sucked under by the treacherous mud. The mother-of-four, now 28, from Yeovil, said: 

"We went out a bit, then the mud just grabbed us by our legs and we started sinking - it was so scary. "We were sinking and it was a real struggle to get out. It was really gooey." 

Donna remembers how quickly the beach can change from being firm underfoot to a thick, dangerous quicksand. "One minute it was fine and then I went down to my knee in mud in a matter of seconds, " she said. "It went up to my knee on one leg and about my ankle on the other really quickly. "You feel as though your legs are going deeper and deeper when you try to get out. "It almost moulds to your legs and it's a real struggle to free yourself." 

Donna and her friends were lucky. They were able to extricate themselves from the mud's grasp quickly and scramble back to a safe part of the beach. Donna said: "When my legs started to sink I said to my friends 'Oh my God, it's soft sand, we'd better get back'." "It was very scary. But as a kid you don't see the dangers.We didn't know about the dangers - we were only teenagers so we didn't take any notice. "You don't really think of anything, except that you know you have to get out of that mud." 

Donna has been so moved by Lelaina's death that she is planning a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Press's hovercraft appeal.


Holiday MAKERS were urged to be wary of walking on mud in Bridgwater Bay yesterday after a repeat of the Lelaina Hall tragedy was narrowly averted yet again. A ten-year-old boy on holiday from Northamptonshire was exploring Blue Anchor Bay, near Watchet, when he became stuck. A local 17year-old saw the youngster in difficulty and dragged him to safety