Ordeal by Quicksand

Firefighters had to dig out terrified disabled mum

What should have been a pleasant stroll along Skegness beach turned into a nightmare for local woman, Margaret Nelson, who became trapped after sinking waist deep in sand.
Disabled mother, Mrs Nelson, 35, of Gibson Place, is still recovering from her harrowing ordeal which saw her stuck for over half-an-hour while firefighters fought to free her.
The incident took place just after 10am on Monday, off Princes Parade, just feet away from the new extension of Lagoon Walk, part of the sea defense work.
Margaret’s husband, Kevin, told the Standard what happened.
“We were walking along the new walkway and down the ramp. We got to the end and stepped off into the sand. We’d only gone about three foot when Margaret suddenly went down. Luckily I had hold of her hand. It was all so quick it was frightening.
Said Margaret: “I was taking a step forward when I went under and was in an awkward position. I could wiggle my foot so there must have been room to go down further but with one leg in and one out I was trapped.”

Police Alerted

Kevin shouted to another couple who ran to help. One of the passers-by held Margaret under her armpits to keep her from going under. Police, ambulance and fire brigade crews were alerted.
Margaret was finally released by firefighters using spaded and a sand lance filled with compressed air. She was wrapped up by rescuers in an attempt to stop her shaking.
“I was very cold and frightened and crying all the time,” said Margaret.
“I thought I was going to slip in further. If it had been my son Ashley, he wouldn’t be here today.”
Following her ordeal, Margaret was taken to Skegness Hospital suffering from swelling, bruises and shock.
The family only moved to Skegness in November from Sutton-in-Ashfield. Margaret says she loves the area but won’t be walking on the beach again. The couple would like to thank all who took part in the rescue.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said the area had since been cordoned off and a sign erected saying “Beach Closed”. Regular security patrols around the affected area will continue until contractors are satisfied that the sand has compacted.

Source: Skegness Standard 27th June 1997


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