AN injured elderly man was rescued from the beach in St Audries Bay last week with ‘minutes to spare’ as the tide came in.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust paramedics were treating the casualty when the Watchet coastguards rescue team was called in at about 1.20pm.

The incident happened near the waterfall on the beach and with the flooding tide at that point not far from them.

St Audries Bay has two natural waterfalls which are a popular attraction for walkers but can only be reached on foot over the flat pebbles, sand, shingle, and rock beach at low tide. The man had suffered a serious lower leg injury and a Coastguard rescue helicopter was on its way to the incident. However, with the danger from the sea coming in it was decided to stand down the coastguard helicopter and immediately evacuate the man from the beach.

The coastguard team ‘packaged’ the injured man on to their cliff rescue stretcher and he was carried off the beach only moments before the water reached them.

The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance had landed paramedics in a nearby field on the clifftop and the man was stretchered to the landing site from where he was flown to hospital.

Minehead coastguards and a Minehead lifeboat crew also attended the incident, which was described as ‘another great example of joint emergency services interoperability principles, teamwork’.

Following the rescue, a coastguard spokesman said: “Remember, in a coastal emergency dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”