Stick-in-the-mud rescued in Exe Estuary drama

PUBLISHED: 18:27 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:08 10 June 2010

AN old stick-in-mud was able to breathe a long-awaited sigh of relief as he was rescued after being trapped in the estuary mud flats off Exmouth.

AN old stick-in-mud was able to breathe a long-awaited sigh of relief as he was rescued after being trapped in the estuary mud flats off Exmouth.

Drama gripped onlookers near Exmouth lorry park on Sunday evening as a 67 year-old man was spotted trapped in mud up to his waist.

Quick-thinking Exmouth businesswoman Fiona Drummond contacted Coastguards when she saw the man plead for help - and a team of 12 were on the scene in minutes.

He was dragged to safety on a special mud sled as the tide approached.

One onlooker said: "His heart was pumping a bit more than usual and he must have been relieved to see the Coastguards turn up. He was on his own, and would have been in real danger if this happened an hour later once the tide came in."

The man was spotted 800 metres out by Mrs Drummond, 49, who is deaf and runs sign tutelage business Freedom to Communicate.

Mrs Drummond had been enjoying a cuppa in her motor home the drama unfolded just before 7pm on Sunday, when she called emergency services.

Fred Caygill, of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, praised her quick actions:

"Mrs Drummond did the right thing she saw the man in trouble and contacted us right away.

"There are areas of the Exe Estuary that have very soft mud - you can be walking on firm mud one minute, and then soft patches the next.

"People must be aware - it could happen to anybody. It has even happened to me, I sank up to my shins."

"The gentleman did the right thing - if had struggled further it may have made it worse and sank further - he just waited patiently for help to arrive."

Two officers manned the mud sled to help drag the gentleman back to safety after he had sunk down while out for a stroll. He had got himself into more trouble with an initial struggle before awaiting his rescue.

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