CONCERNED council chiefs have ordered a 24-hour safety watch on a stretch of beach after a second report of a child being trapped in the sand.
Huge sandbanks have now been created around the spot where 16-year-old Neil Robson sank in sand at Seaton Carew on Friday evening and had to be pulled out by emergency crews in a dramatic rescue operation.
Just two days later on the same stretch of beach – close to where work is being carried out to improve
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sea defences – a 10-year-old boy was left stuck in sand up to his knees and had to be pulled out by his father.
Now bosses at Hartlepool Council have launched an immediate investigation after the second incident was brought to their attention by the boy’s concerned mum.
Both incidents happened on the section of Seaton beach opposite the end of Station Lane, and as well as the sand barriers and round-the-clock security, signs have also been put up to warn people of the danger.
A team of council workers and representatives from the contractors carrying out the work were on the sand yesterday assessing the situation.
After Sunday’s incident, which did not require any assistance from any of the emergency services, the boy’s mum - who does not want to be identified - called on the local authority to take immediate action.
She said: “We aren’t familiar with the beach as we live in Stockton, and we hadn’t heard about the incident with the young lad on Friday afternoon.
“I was with my fiancee and three sons, and my 10-year-old just suddenly sank into the sand as we were walking along and couldn’t get himself out.
“Thankfully there was some drier, harder sand near to where he had sank, and my fiancee managed to free him after a struggle.
“My son was frantic, he was stuck so fast that when he was pulled out he actually lost his trainers.
“To think of the amount of children that go on that beach, it doesn’t bear thinking about what would happen if a smaller child or a toddler sank into the sand.
“Luckily we were only a couple of yards behind my son when he sank and got to him quickly. But how many times do families go to the beach and the kids run off and play by themselves?”
The mum heard about Friday’s drama when her fiancee’s workmates were told about her son’s ordeal.
As reported in Saturday’s Mail, 16-year-old Neil became stuck and had to be pulled out by crews from the fire brigade and the RNLI after the tide quickly came in around him.
Reliving his ordeal in yesterday’s Mail, he said had he been stuck for just 10 minutes longer, then he would have drowned.
The mum added: “Someone said they had read the story in the Mail about the lad sinking on Friday, and when I looked into it it was on exactly the same stretch of beach.
“It is near to where the work is taking place, and I did wonder if it had something to do with that.
“With two incidents in the space of a couple of days there is clearly a problem and it is dangerous.”
A council spokesman said: “We believe that the soft sand conditions are a direct consequence of the essential coastal defence works that are currently being carried out at Seaton Carew.
“The weekend’s incidents are a matter of concern, and we want to ensure that they are not repeated.
“We would appeal to people to stay well clear of the area of beach next to the sea wall where the work is being carried out because, after all, it is a construction site.
“Anyone who does find themselves on the beach in this area – between the Staincliffe and the Station Lane slipway - should ensure that they stay outside the sand bunds that mark the perimeter of the construction site.
“The site which is taped off during working hours, is also being monitored 24-hours a day and additional warning signs have been put up.”