Emergency services raced to reports of a powered paraglider had made an emergency landing into mud in the Dee Estuary.
With the tide flooding and the light fading, the RNLI hovercraft ‘Hurley Spirit’ and her volunteer crew launched quickly and headed to the landing site, which was reported to be around one mile west of West Kirby Sailing Club.
Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team officers had arrived on scene at the south end of West Kirby Marine Lake and located the casualty’s position with help from eyewitnesses.
Two Coastguard officers headed out across the mud and were able to reach the casualty, who fortunately required no medical attention and was walking ashore with his equipment.
With the Dee Estuary now in darkness, the Hoylake Hovercraft crew were able to locate the casualty and Coastguard officers thanks to a strobing light on the casualty’s equipment.
The hovercraft arrived at their location and the casualty and his kit, which included a large paramotor and wing, were brought on board by the RNLI crew.
After a short journey across the muddy beach, the casualty was landed ashore safely at the slipway on the Marine Lake wall.
Hoylake RNLI volunteer hovercraft commander Matt Schanck said: ‘It was fortunate that the casualty was able to make a safe landing in what can be a dangerous part of the Dee Estuary, especially with the flooding tide.
’‘Thanks to the response of the Coastguard, the help of eyewitnesses, and the experience and preparedness of the casualty, he was located quickly before the conditions on the beach became more hazardous.
’‘Paramotoring is a popular pastime around our region’s coast and we advise anyone taking to the air over the water to ensure they have all the right safety equipment, wear a flotation device and carry a means of calling for help. In a coastal emergency, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’
Michael Buratti, Station Officer for Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team said, “On this occasion, the paramotor pilot has had a lucky escape and has managed to carry out a controlled emergency landing on the beach and walked away uninjured however landing onto mud with an incoming time made the incident time critical.
Accurate information given by the 999 caller enabled Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team to quickly deploy specially trained officers onto the mud. Given the distance from the shore, we also called upon the assistance of the RNLI Hovercraft from Hoylake”.