RNLI called out to 25 people in danger of being cut off by the tide on West Kirby beach

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Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was tasked by the UK Coastguard at 12.01pm today to reports of a large group of people cut off by the tide on the Hilbre Islands off West Kirby.

The Hoylake relief hovercraft ‘John Russell’ and her volunteer crew had just returned to the lifeboat station from an earlier launch to assist a quad bike stuck in the mud off West Kirby.

RNLI West Kirby Lifeboat had also been tasked following the earlier incident.

The hovercraft and lifeboat headed to the islands, where 20 people were found to be on Middle Eye and five were on Hilbre Island.

Most of the group were aware of the tide times and had intended to stay on the islands over the high tide.

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However, a small number had unexpectedly found themselves cut off from the shore.

The Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI crews established that none of the group were in immediate danger and agreed that given the need to observe social-distancing where possible due to risk of COVID-19, it would not be necessary or safe to transport the casualties to the shore in the hovercraft or lifeboat.

All of the group were happy to stay on the islands over the tide and return to the shore when it was safe.

Once satisfied that the casualties were not in any further danger, the hovercraft and lifeboat returned to station.

Hoylake RNLI hovercraft commander Harry Jones said: ‘In these exceptional times when there are no RNLI beach lifeguards on duty, it’s more important than ever that anyone visiting the coast understands the risks.

The Hilbre Islands also remain closed at the moment due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

’‘We urge everyone to make themselves aware of dangers, for example by checking local tide times, take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones, and remember that in an emergency they should dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’