Dramatic RNLI coastguard footage shows rescue mission as ice cream van is swept out to sea

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Watch the dramatic moment when an ice-cream van got washed out to sea, ending in a coastguard rescue mission.

The Kelly’s ice-cream van got stuck in the sand, as the tide began to turn on Sunday (7/7) afternoon. Despite multiple attempts to pull the van out of the water, the tide was too strong, and it was left swirling against the rocks.

An ice cream van that has been washed out to sea, Harlyn Bay beach, North Cornwall. An ice cream van that has been washed out to sea, Harlyn Bay beach, North Cornwall.
An ice cream van that has been washed out to sea, Harlyn Bay beach, North Cornwall. | Vintage Mary / SWNS

Onlooker, Abi Fisk, said she witnessed a 4x4 with a winch close by trying "really hard to pull it free" when it was first swept into the ocean. Abi explained how 'lots of surfers' and other people on the beach attempted to help.

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Van got stuck on rocks

She said: "They managed to pull it a fair way up the beach while still surrounded by the in coming waves, before it got stuck on rocks." Though as the tide was coming in 'very quickly' - the group were forced to abandon the van, and shortly afterwards the coast guards arrived.

Abi, of Stroud, Glos. was on holiday at Harlyn Bay beach, North Cornwall, when it happened. She added: "The coastguards will keep watch over ice-cream van until the tide goes out and a local salvage team that are on standby can remove the ice-cream van from the beach."

Caught out by the tide

Abi had watched the ice-cream van drive straight down the the bottom of the packed beach - to the lowest point of low tide - but the tide came in suddenly. "Some people in the car park in a 4x4 tried to winch him out, but the front tyre had sank into the sand. So they even tried to tow the van whilst it was stuck in the sea, but then it got completely wedged in some rocks.

It was finally rescued at around 10pm, when a local tractor driver got it out of the water.

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A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said the van owner arranged for a recovery of the vehicle at around 9.45, when the tide was low enough for recovery.

"Padstow Coastguard Rescue Team and RNLI Lifeguards were sent to ensure the safety of those involved, and the owner of the van was safe and well.

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