A kayaker had to be rescued by firefighters and Selsey Coastguard after becoming stranded in marshland on Saturday night.
Two passers-by raised the alarm after hearing the man’s distress whistle in the marsh, where a change in tide had left him stuck on the way home, West Sussex Fire and Rescue confirmed today.
Fire crews from Chichester, Bognor and a technical rescue unit were called in to help with the ‘complex’ water rescue at around 10pm, and the man was taken to hospital by paramedics, a fire service spokesman confirmed.
Station manager and water safety officer, Marvin Smith, said: “Many people are unaware of the risks that the water can have and are not prepared for the utmost worst situation.
“Fortunately two people passing by were alerted to the incident when they heard a distress whistle - upon investigation they raised the alarm, prompting the deployment of emergency services.
“Their quick thinking prevented a serious incident from occurring as the outcome could have been much worse.”
Posting on social media after the incident Selsey Coastguard said a search party of police, fire and various coastguard teams found the man in his kayak near Fishbourne Meadows.
He helped onto a stretcher and treated at the scene before being taken to a waiting ambulance, the coastguard said.
A post read: “This rescue demonstrated great team work from all the emergency services involved and we would like to thank them for their help with this incident.
“Returning to station just after midnight.
“In an emergency out at sea, along the coast or if you’re stuck in the mud dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard!”
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has urged people to be ‘water aware’ following the incident with advice on how to stay safe while out at sea.
It comes ahead of the NFCC’s Water Safety Week which runs from 23rd-29th April.
Tips to stay safe when out at sea:
– Know the area that you are in – take a map with you just in case you become lost or disorientated
– Ensure someone at home knows your passage plan (including points of arrival, timescale, departure and number in group)
– Wear a buoyancy aid and check that equipment is functioning properly
– Have good provisions for your trip
– Take working communications with you to alert emergency services if an issue were to arise
– Don’t take any risks! If you do encounter a problem, ring 999 immediately.