Liverpool have been coordinating the search and rescue of two youths who, in thick fog, went into the water near Skerton Bridge in Lancaster. The bridge fords the river near Ryelands Park.
The first call came from Lancaster Police who were pursuing the youths, and at just before 9.00pm this evening saw one of the individuals go into the water.
Morecambe RNLI inshore lifeboat and hovercraft launched from Snatchems further down the river. The fog at the time meant visibility was only around 20 to 50 foot. Communications due to low water and the area also hampered the search. At around 9.20 one of the youths was seen clinging to the bridge and the other was still missing. The youth hanging on to the line beneath the bridge was recovered safely.
By 10.00 pm the second lad had been recovered and taken to an ambulance covered in mud. He had jumped from the bridge and managed to get across the river somehow to the other side of Skerton Bridge. He had then negotiated the mud by clinging on to the wall until he could get a grip of something secure to hold. He then stayed in that safe position until he was spotted and retrieved alive, but very cold.
Ged Lynch, Duty Watch Manager at Liverpool Coastguard said
“With the very thick fog in the area and the way it deadens sound these two characters are very lucky to come out of this experience alive tonight. Hypothermia can kill and kill very quickly. If the search had gone on into the night, we would have been unable to use a helicopter, as the fog was too dense to see through - even using infra red glasses - and the lack of visibility would have also been a threat to the pilot and crew. Our experience shows that immersion in water at the kind of temperatures our seas and rivers are at present in the clothes they were wearing would have meant there would have been a high risk of death after around 40 minutes.”
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