Coastguards play down rock fears
COASTGUARDS are today confident of rescuing someone trapped on the rocks on Felixstowe beach, despite worries a child could be caught and drown.Felixstowe sector manager Jo Arlow said the coastguards and other emergency services had all the necessary equipment and expertise, and exercises to deal with a mock incident had proved successful.
COASTGUARDS are today confident of rescuing someone trapped on the rocks on Felixstowe beach, despite worries a child could be caught and drown.
Felixstowe sector manager Jo Arlow said the coastguards and other emergency services had all the necessary equipment and expertise, and exercises to deal with a mock incident had proved successful.
But he said people should stay off the groynes and not climb on them because they were not a playground.
Fears have been voiced that should a child or elderly person get their leg caught between the boulders, rescuers might not reach them in time.
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While admitting that no-one can ever give a 100 per cent safety assurance over anything in life, the services say they have emergency plans to deal with the rocks and these have been tested.
"I am confident that we could deal with any incident on these rock groynes – they are no more dangerous than many other similar sea defences around the coast," said Mr Arlow.
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"We have plans in place and there have been lengthy discussions with the fire service and other organisations.
"If we can rescue people from mountains in Scotland, I am sure we can rescue people stuck on rocks on Felixstowe beach.
"If push comes to shove, we can move these rocks. The fire service has pneumatic gear which would push them apart and enable us to free a person with a trapped leg."
Mr Arlow said there were signs to warn beach users not scramble across the rocks but people were "inherently foolish" and ignore notices.
"People should not be playing on these rocks. They are there as sea defences, not for playing on, and the notices tell people to keep off," he said.
"We hope there will not be an incident to deal with and that people will be sensible. But we are ready and we do have the expertise if the need arises."
Problems with the rocks were highlighted when Evening Star angling writer Ian Bowell's pet dog Connie went missing on the beach at Cobbold's Point and was found caught between the boulders with the tide rising.
Suffolk Coastal council, which placed the rocks on the beach to protect the prom and stop the beach eroding, said it was not aware of any concerns from any of the local professional emergency services.
n What do think? Are the rocks a dangerous playground – should measures be taken to keep people off them? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk