Lyme Regis lifeboat supports hazardous coastguard rescue operation along West Dorset cliffs

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Two men had to be airlifted to safety after becoming stranded on cliffs along the West Dorset coast yesterday (Sunday, December 8).

Tom Williams and his brother in law James Kingham had been searching for an Irish Setter, Paddy, which disappeared over the edge of Thorncombe Beacon while on a walk the previous day.

The search ended in sadness when the found the pet dead at the foot of a cliff – but then they became the subject of a major rescue operation by the RNLI, coastguards and a coastguard helicopter.

As they were recovering Paddy, Tom and James, 31, became cut off by the tide and Tom’s father, Andy Williams, 65, alerted Portland coastguards.

Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat was launched at 11am but a heavy swell and rocks meant two crew members – Murray Saunders and James Rice – had to swim ashore to assess the situation.

Lifeboat helmsman Brian Street said: “Because of the sea conditions and the rocks, and also because it was not a life threatening situation, we asked for the coastguard helicopter to assist in the recovery of the two men and the dog.

“The helicopter crew also picked up our two crew members from the beach and lowered them to the deck of our lifeboat.”

Tom Williams, his father and brother in law had been spending a week on holiday in Bridport.

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