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Police officers rescued four people who were stuck in mud half a mile out to sea in Westcliff.
They received a call shortly after 6.45pm on Tuesday June 2 saying an adult and three children – aged between seven and 15 – had got into difficulties in mud at Chalkwell Beach.
The tide was coming in quickly and it was reported the children had deep cuts to their feet and legs and were becoming unwell.
Responding to the call Inspector Tony Adams, Acting Sergeant Amy Butler, and PC Josh Woodcraft bravely went into the water to try and rescue the group.
All four were brought to safety by 7.15pm, returning to shore exhausted.
The four people rescued were taken to hospital as was one of the officers as a precaution.
Inspector Adams said: “We heard over our radios that the youngest person stranded was starting to become really unwell and water was starting to rise to their head level.
“We were the first of the emergency services on scene. When we got there and looked out to sea we couldn’t see their faces so we were really worried.
“All three of us went in to get them and try to bring them to safety.
“It was really hard work on mud and rocks with the incoming tide making it really hard on the legs but we eventually got the group.
“I took the youngest and handed him to Josh then we brought the rest of the group back to the beach where they were taken care of immediately by colleagues from the ambulance service.
“All of the family were taken to hospital and Amy, Josh and I got checked over as well as we were exhausted.
“I’m really pleased to say that all involved are now safe and well.
“The tide can come in really quickly so if you’re planning on going to the beach it’s worth being conscious of that. Also if you’re out somewhere you’re not familiar with apps such as What3Words can be really useful to identify where you are”.
Chief Inspector Ian Hughes, District Commander for Southend, said: “These officers are absolute heroes and I am incredibly proud of them.
“They braved the quickly incoming tide and put aside any thoughts of their own personal safety to ensure the wellbeing of the four people stranded in the mud.
“I would also like to thank the other emergencies services that also attended to assist in safely resolving this incident”