STRANDED walkers who were hours from death were rescued from an incoming tide near Beachy Head.
Four ramblers, strolling along the shoreline between Beachy Head lighthouse and Falling Sands on Sunday (January 9), became trapped in the face of oncoming water at about 12pm. One tried to scramble up the cliff face but could not escape the rising tide and was told to await rescue by lifeguards.
Two Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats were called to carry the quartet to safety.
Rescuers said they had been hours from death and warned all walkers to think twice before embarking on a similar route.
An RNLI spokesman said, “This group was fortunate that the RNLI Lifeboats were in the area. With another two hours of rising tide these individuals’ plight could have got a lot more serious.”
Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats were called to the scene. The walkers were plucked from the shoreline and transferred to Birling Gap where they were ferried to the cliff steps by the inshore lifeboat which had been redeployed from a training exercise off Sovereign Harbour.
The RNLI had carried out a similar rescue a few day before. Again walkers were caught off guard by the rapidly rising tide and found themselves stuck on the coastline with no means of escape.
An RNLI spokesman added, “With no escape from the beach between Birling Gap and Cow Gap, walkers are strongly advised to check tide tables and seek expert local knowledge before setting out.”