A group of hapless bathers had to be rescued as they tried to reach the sea for a swim and got stuck – up to their waists in MUD.
The nine young men and women had decided to go for a dip to cool off from the sweltering summer temperatures on Saturday.
But they got into difficulty as they made their way to the water’s edge during low tide at Brean Down, near Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset.
The group of seven men and two women became trapped in mudflats on the banks of the River Axe estuary as they attempted to reach the water.
They got stuck waist-deep in the mud and had to be rescued by a coastguard team on hovercrafts at 2pm.
The group, aged in their twenties, were spotted by a walker who saw they were in trouble and raised the alarm.
Two hovercrafts from Burnham-based rescue charity BARB were called to the scene, along with a team of six Coastguards, who brought them safely back to shore.
Burnham Coastguard Station Officer Steve Bird said the group was rescued one mile from the shore.
He said: “All had been struggling in the mud around the River Axe estuary while trying to reach the sea.
“Given that the tide was coming in quickly and the nine people were in difficulty a mile out from the beach, this was a serious situation. The hovercrafts proved essential in quickly reaching the casualties.”
First to be rescued were a group of men from Cardiff were taken on board a hovercraft and brought back to the safety of the beach.
Two women, aged 25 and 22 from Bristol, were also rescued a few minutes later – followed by a further two men, both aged 21, from Gloucestershire.
One of those rescued, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “Walking out to reach the sea seemed a good idea at the time, but the mud got very deep as we approached the water.
“We got stuck waist-deep – seeing the hovercraft coming to help us was a wonderful moment. We are so grateful to everyone.”