PARENTS of schoolgirls trapped by a fast incoming tide today spoke of their relief after the youngsters were airlifted to safety.
Twelve-year-old friends Lauren Barnes and Rebecca Cook were found sheltering in a cove after getting stuck on the beach in Easington Colliery.
Rebecca had her mobile phone and was able to raise an alarm by calling the police and giving brief details of where they were.
When the police tried to call her back the phone kept diverting to voicemail, but luckily the helicopter spotted the stricken girls and picked them up before they suffered any injuries.
The families of both youngsters were hugely relieved to have them back safe and well after such a frightening ordeal.
But Lauren’s mum Barbara, who lives in Easington Colliery, said that if it had not have been for the mobile phone it could have been a lot worse.
“Now that I can breathe properly again and the whole thing is over and done with I’m just relieved it wasn’t any worse,” said the 37-year-old, who is also mother to twins Megan and Tori, 10.
“I always tell Lauren to carry her mobile no matter where she goes. You just never know when you might need it.
“But the water got into Lauren’s phone and it turned itself off. Luckily Rebecca had hers and they were both sensible enough to call for help.”
Rebecca’s mum Michelle said: “I felt hysterical when I found out what was happening, but I’m glad they are both safe and well.”
The pair went out for a walk on the beach, shortly before the alarm was raised at 7.30pm on Wednesday.
The girls, students at Easington Community Science College, had not noticed the fast incoming tide.
By the time they realised, they were unable to turn back.
Barbara, who works as a part time shop assistant, added: “It’s just so scary to think what could have happened.
“If they hadn’t had a mobile phone they would have been relying on someone spotting them.
“If that hadn’t have happened, well I don’t even want to think about that.”
Barbara praised both girls for the way they dealt with the ordeal.
“Obviously they aren’t used to being in a situation like that,” she said.
“At that age you don’t necessarily look out for the dangers, but they definitely will be in the future.”