Rescue mission after failed river crossing

The lifeboat was brought up on to Lytham Green. Photo: David Forshaw
The lifeboat was brought up on to Lytham Green. Photo: David Forshaw

A man who tried to walk from Southport to Blackpool had to be rescued after being caught out by the tide.

The man was forced to climb a wooden navigational aid to avoid the rising water after finding his route across the Ribble Estuary blocked.

Lytham St Annes RNLI launched a class D lifeboat to rescue him on Sunday after being called out by the coastguard at 6.05pm.

A spokesman for the charity said the man was approaching the north bank, near Lytham, when he found the main channel of the Ribble blocking his path.

By this time the tide had turned and was flooding the estuary, with the man four miles from safety.

The man waded across to the 10 mile perch, a tall wooden navigation aid marking the river channel, and scrambled half way up to avoid the rising sea.

RNLI volunteers rescued the man and brought him ashore, where he was left in the care of Lytham St Annes Coastguard.

They made sure he was fit and capable to continue his journey before he resumed his trip to Blackpool unaided.

Helmsman Vinny Pedley, who led the rescue mission, said: “It was a short service but a necessary one as although the man could keep above the level of the rising water while up the 10 mile perch, he could easily have succumbed to exposure if left throughout the night until the next low tide released him.

“He would then have still had to walk back to Southport as he had no means to cross the channel.”