Eight people including children had to be rescued by the lifeboat last night (Sunday) after they were left stranded during a walk to Beachy Head Lighthouse.
The all-weather lifeboat was launched after the group was cut off by the rising tide below the cliffs.
A lifeboat spokesperson said the group members had planned their expedition and consulted tide tables but seriously underestimated the
terrain and the type of footwear and clothing they would require.
He said, “Their intention was to walk along the beach from Birling Gap pass the Beachy Head lighthouse and on to Holywell. With some of the group wearing flip-flops their progress was extremely slow and with less than half of the route covered they found themselves cut off by the
rising tide and darkness beginning to fall.
“Unable to use mobile phones to request assistance because of the lack of signal below the cliffs they began realise their plight was desperate. With little alternative, they sought the highest ground possible and waited whilst one of the adults scrambled over the rocks and headed towards Holywell hoping to pick up a signal on his phone.
“Eventually he was successful and frantically dialled 999 and alerted Dover Coastguard. Initially it was understood that only three casualties were involved so Eastbourne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched. Soon on scene, the volunteer lifeboat crew became aware of the extra
casualties and requested the launch of Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat to help get the stranded people off the beach and to safety.
“The volunteer inshore lifeboat crew stayed on the beach to reassure the cold and frightened casualties to await the arrival of the ALB. When the ALB arrived on scene the casualties were ferried to the ALB by the inshore lifeboat where their medical condition was assessed. With all well the party were taken to Sovereign Harbour where they were met by local coastguards and police officers.”