Both Eastbourne lifeboats were scrambled on Saturday afternoon to reports that three separate groups of walkers were cut off by the tide at the foot of Beachy Head cliffs.
The alarm was initially raised when a pair of jet-skiers noticed two women desperately waving for help perched precariously on the rocks near Beachy Head Lighthouse and two other groups in separate coves nearby, also apparently cut off by the tide.
Unable to get close enough in the swell to assist, the skiers notified the rescue co-ordination centre at Dover Coastguard and volunteer crews of both Eastbourne lifeboats were called out.
The inshore lifeboat crew was already at the station as they had been assisting the local swimming club with an event near Eastbourne Pier so were en-route within a few minutes.
The all-weather lifeboat was also launched as back-up.
The ILB crew took the two women, who had been stranded for at least two hours and were by this time, tired and cold, on board.
An Eastbourne RNLI spokesperson said, “The volunteer crew then went to check on the wellbeing of the other two groups. Both groups reported they were aware of the tides and were content to stay where they were until such time as they were ready to make their own way back to the promenade.
“After the lifeboat crew had assessed that the two women did not require medical attention they were taken back to the beach at Holywell where they were put ashore having received the grateful thanks of the couple.”
The spokesperson later said, “It is imperative that walkers, particularly visitors, check tide tables before attempting to walk beneath the cliffs and also take account of the terrain because it takes a lot longer to walk on the shingle beach than many people estimate.”
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