A holiday-maker who became trapped in high tide on a Norfolk beach caught his foot in “very dangerous” rock armour, fuelling safety concerns about the man-made sea defences.
The father, from Southend, Essex, had been bring one of his two children in from the sea in Sheringham when he slipped off steps to the promenade on Sunday evening.
He had a plastic cast on his foot from a previous accident, which became wedged in the rock formations installed on the beach to protect it from erosion and storms.
With the tide quickly coming in, the man, in his 20s, soon found he was up to his neck in the freezing surf as rescue crews launched a frantic effort to get him loose.
Russell Cox was in charge of the first fire appliance on the scene and described how the fire, coastguard and RNLI crews were being battered by “relentless” waves.
The trapped man’s children were taken away as fears grew that he may not survive the ordeal, which lasted for four hours.
Mr Cox told The Daily Telegraph: “I’m not going to lie, it was blind panic, we were doing anything to try and rescue him. It was the most dreadful incident I have been to in 25 years.”