Ambulance service in SOS as crew gets stuck in the sand at Cramond

The stricken Land Rover is finally pulled to safety by a tractor
The stricken Land Rover is finally pulled to safety by a tractor
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AS A training exercise, it worked perfectly.

The crew of a Scottish Ambulance vehicle got first-hand experience of the dangers of the Cramond Island tide when they became stuck fast and had to call on the help of a tractor to free them.

The Land Rover – marked National Risk and Resilience Department – ran into trouble just a short time before the tide came in.

Bemused resident Archie Buchanan, 61, spotted the stricken vehicle when he was out walking his dog at around 10am yesterday morning.

“When I came down, the vehicle was stuck in the water, it had obviously been to the island and got stuck on the way back over. It had come off the causeway and was at a 45-degree angle.

“They had another vehicle that tried to get it out, and it got stuck as well.”

Eventually, the vehicle was pulled out of the sand by a tractor. “If they hadn’t managed to get the vehicles out, the tide would have started to come back in that afternoon and everything would have ended up under water,” Mr Buchanan added. “I was surprised they managed to get it out at all.

“A crowd of about 20 people had gathered once they saw it was stuck and, of course, everybody started taking pictures of it.

“We were told they were getting prepared for a festival that’s going to be held there next weekend.

“It was embarrassing. It was a bit like a Carry On film because it just kept getting worse and worse.”

The area will play host to Cramond Island of Punk 2011 this Saturday, with around 100 people expected to attend.

Revellers have been advised that low tide is at 11.30am, leaving two hours either side to safely cross. Last year, a separate event – the Cramond Island Party – ended with hundreds of revellers being helped to shore by lifeboat after the tide came in, although some claimed they had been forced to leave by the coastguard.

More than 160 people were helped off the island at a cost around £18,400.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “There was a vehicle surveying the area for an event at the weekend and it became stuck in some very soft sand. It was not an ambulance, it was a Land Rover on a training exercise – these types of vehicle are not normally used to rescue people, except in the case of severe weather conditions.”

Police said they were aware of the event at the weekend and would have officers present to ensure it goes without incident.

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com