News : Major cockling related incident
Southport Lifeboat crews were called out to a major search and rescue operation on Monday night (24th October) after a group of cocklers were reported in difficulty in atrocious conditions.
Liverpool Coastguard received the first emergency call at approx 6.40pm along with reports that flares had been sighted from three boats carrying cocklers which had broken down on their way back to the Lytham launch site. One of the boats was said to be towing the other two but due to the bad weather the tow had to be cut free as this boat was in danger.
Both Southport offshore and inshore lifeboats were launched, along with RNLI Lytham crews, the Southport and Lytham Coastguard Rescue Teams and the Lancashire Police helicopter. The RAF search and rescue helicopter was also deployed from its base in Anglesey.
One of the boats managed to make its own way to safety and the combined efforts of all the lifeboat crews rescued the other two boats including the five cocklers onboard.
Keith Porter the senior coxswain at Southport Lifeboat who found one of the cocklers on a sandbank said, “The conditions were atrocious and it was pitch black. Boats were just drifting out to wherever the tide took them”.