Northern Ireland

Family rescued from mud at Dundrum Bay tell of ordeal

A family, rescued after becoming trapped in mudflats on the the County Down coast, have said they will never forget their ordeal.

Lisa Duffield, her sister and their six children, aged 10 to six-months, were crossing Dundrum Bay on Wednesday afternoon when they got into difficulty.

The south Down coastguard was called to the scene and freed the family.

Ms Duffield said the mud was "like cement".

"We were walking right around the bay and the kids were starting to get hungry," she said.

"We had the pram with us so we thought we would cut across and make it quicker. There was no water just green bits where you could easily walk with the pram.

"It was when we were about half way across we started to sink. It went up to my knees and I started to panic."

Ms Duffield's sister, who was pushing the pram containing her six-month-old daughter Ruby, also started to sink.

"We told the kids to stand on a green bit in the middle of the bay as it seemed to be safe," Ms Duffield added.

The sisters alerted the Coastguard, who arrived at the scene 10 minutes later.

Image caption The scene of the rescue at Dundrum Bay in County Down

"The Coastguard were outstanding. The fella reassured the kids first and then came to reassure us.

"He took the pram across with the baby first and then helped us across.

"If we hadn't have called the Coastguard anything could have happened. I won't forget this day in a hurry."

Coastguard rescue officer John Kirkpatrick said the family had a lucky escape.

"Had it been a bit later the problem would have been the water would have been coming up as well and they would have got more distressed and frustrated," he added.

"Unless you know the bay it is best to stick to the roads and proper paths."