A man died of a heart attack as he tried to rescue a Mercedes from a beach.
The member of the rescue team was trying to move a hire car wedged in mud.
The vehicle had been rented by a couple and become stranded at Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset.
A Coastguard team and a local commercial vehicle recovery service were called out to recover the Mercedes on Saturday as the tide moved in.
But coastguards say that “a medical emergency unfolded in front of us” – as a man from the vehicle recovery service collapsed with a suspected heart attack.
Despite quick action from three ambulance vehicles and an air ambulance, as well as an off-duty nurse, the man did not recover.
Crews from Burnham Coastguard, Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB), and the vehicle recovery service were initially called to Brean beach in Somerset at 2pm on Saturday.
The stricken couple in the Mercedes had got stuck in mud a fair way out on the beach, as the tide moved in fast and a thunderstorm rolled in over Somerset.
The couple were found to be in no danger and were very apologetic.
A spokesman for Burnham Coastguard said they, along with paramedics and an off-duty nurse, attempted to revive the man who suffered a heart attack, but were unsuccessful.
The spokesman said: “A person had collapsed with a suspected heart attack. The team mobilised quickly to the person and initiated CPR.
“Defibs were deployed from nearby including the Brean Beach wardens and from the National Trust Cafe.
“These were used along with chest compressions. An Ambulance First Responder arrived on scene and administered oxygen.
“Not long after the responder’s arrival an ambulance and the Air Ambulance also arrived on scene.
“Despite the huge effort from everyone, including the off-duty nurse, an off-duty responder who stepped in, and the great work by the Brean Beach Wardens, the person didn’t recover.
“Our thoughts are with family and all concerned. It’s been a long, quite tough weekend for the team but as always we are here to help those who need it along the coast.”
The Mercedes hire car was recovered from the beach the following evening (Sunday), after the BARB team decided they could not beat the tide in retrieving the car safely.
The couple driving the car said they had hired the car to come to the area and hadn’t realised that the mud could be so difficult for cars.
Posting on their Facebook page on Saturday night, Burnham coastguard said that calling them out can be the difference between safety and danger.
They wrote: “A harsh lesson to learn for this couple who were very apologetic for becoming stuck and felt bad for having to call us out.
“We are here to help those in need along the coast, we don’t judge people for their mistakes.
“We are all human and can easily find ourselves in difficulty.and calling us quickly can make a huge difference.
“If you see anyone in difficulty, danger or distress along the coast, Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguards.
“If you drive on any beach, stick to the top end of the beach where the sand is hard and do not drive down towards the water.”
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