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Morecambe Bay cockling tragedy: A fateful night for the lifeboat crew

Flowers and messages of sympathy for those that lost their lives tied onto railings outside Morecambe Lifeboat Station.

Flowers and messages of sympathy for those that lost their lives tied onto railings outside Morecambe Lifeboat Station.

RNLI operations manager Michael Guy was on duty in the Morecambe lifeboat station on the evening of February 5 2004.

It was a fateful night he and his colleagues on the lifeboat crew will never forget.

“The search is the most distressing and demanding that any of us have ever had to take part in and it left a mark on us all,” he said.

“Nothing could have prepared us for that night and I know that no one involved will ever forget the dreadful scenes we witnessed.

“The volunteer RNLI crews of the Morecambe rescue hovercraft and D-class inshore lifeboat worked tirelessly for 22 hours in the search and the fact that we were unable to help the people who died will always be a great regret for all of us.

“Ten years on, our thoughts are very much with the loved ones of those who were lost that night. The anniversary is bound to intensify their pain and suffering and I hope they know that our thoughts are very much with them.”

Michael said it’s important that people learn from the tragedy.

Last year alone the Morecambe hovercraft was needed 22 times to help rescue people who had got into difficulties in Morecambe Bay.

He said this was often because people did not make simple safety checks. “Despite the widespread publicity this tragedy received, many people still seem unaware that Morecambe Bay can be a treacherous place,” he said.

“We would ask anyone who intends going out into Morecambe Bay to check tide times and the weather forecast before they set out, and to seek the advice of the Coastguard about where and when to go and when to return.”

 

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