Dramatic rescue as family of four cut off by rising tides at Boulby cliffs

Staithes RNLI
Staithes RNLI
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A family of four and their pet spaniel had to be dramatically rescued after getting stranded in a rising tide under the Boulby cliffs.

The group, which included two boys aged nine and 11, had been out for a family walk between Staithes and Skinningrove along the North Yorkshire coast when they realised they'd been cut off by rising water.

Boulby Cliffs

Boulby Cliffs

Shortly after raising the alarm on Thursday afternoon, they were rescued when the Staithes and Runswick branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) came to their aid.

A crew member swam ashore to ensure the family stayed safe above the rising tide on a ledge at a spot known as New Fall.

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Coastguard teams from Staithes, Whitby and Redcar gathered at the nearest clifftop at Boulby cottages and prepared to evacuate the family with 200 metre ropes but it was decided it was best to rescue them by the lifeboat.

In what was described as an "exemplary operation in tricky conditions", helmsman Drew Baxter manoeuvred the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat between the rocks as close to the shore as possible.

Two more crewmen swam separately ashore with dry suits and lifebelts, and attaching each member of the family to a safety line, escorted them in turn through the rocks and choppy sea back to the lifeboat, finally rescuing the pet spaniel.

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Just over an hour after the alarm was raised, the family was safely returned to Staithes and after a check-up at the RNLI boathouse they were able to return to their holiday cottage.
A spokesman for Staithes RNLI said: "The rocks along the shoreline at this point under Boulby are as big as cars and even a low swell can create big waves to swim through. But this sort of rescue is what we train for and it was an exemplary operation in tricky conditions.