A news story in the national press last week highlighted the shocking emotional detachment of some people but, in a bid to retrieve some positivity out of the drama that unfolded, it is hoped that the tale may at least prove to be a timely warning that could ultimately save lives in the future.
A range of British newspapers, including the Mirror and the Daily Mail, carried the story of two mothers who tried desperately to prevent four small children trapped on a sandbank from drowning – as onlookers filmed the events on their phones. The mothers were shocked when they realised that people were filming the unfolding drama rather than helping them save an 18-month old baby and a trio of little girls, aged just eight, six and three.
The youngsters had been taking a school holiday stroll on Blackpool Beach when they became trapped on the sandbank amidst rising tides. As the mothers were forced to hold the youngsters heads above the water, onlookers on the nearby pier pressed record on their mobile phones. Everyone was eventually rescued by a volunteer lifeboat crew but Nathan Lee, a member of the rescue team, said that one of the mums was left feeling disgusted that onlookers focused on filming the potential tragedy rather than offering assistance.
The incident is a valuable reminder of the need to remain aware of tide times and conditions, however, especially as it occurred just after 60+ spectators needed to be rescued from the edges of the Thames at the annual Boat Race. Those helped included seven people cut off by a rising tide at Chiswick Eyot and an eight-year-old boy who needed rescuing after he lost contact with his mother. It is thought that many people at the event had failed to consider the effects of the Thames tide times and the wash coming from the flotilla in the river.