A group of six teenage Pokémon Go players had a lucky escape on Thursday night after almost getting cut off by the rising tide off Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Weston’s volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by Milford Haven coastguard shortly before 9pm to rescue the teenagers, who were searching for Pokémon on Birnbeck Island, which is cut off from the mainland at high tide apart from the partly collapsed, and unsafe, old pier.
By the time the volunteer lifeboat crew launched, two boys were spotted wading back across the shingle bank to the shore, with the tide rising rapidly to chest height, and scrambling to the shore.
Four more boys walked along the pier’s unsafe walkway, which the volunteer lifeboat crew were forced to abandon three years ago, back to the shore. The police, fire brigade and local coastguard teams were also gathered at the landward end of the pier on standby.
The RNLI said no one was injured in the incident.
Lifeboat crew member Chris Lyons said: “It is great to see people getting out and about enjoying themselves, however, putting your life in danger trying to catch Pokémon is extremely irresponsible.
“In Weston the tide comes in so quickly, in seconds you can be in life-threatening danger. Please, if you do see a Pokémon either on the rocks or in the muddy areas of Weston bay, don’t put yourself into a position where you could become stuck.
“The water is unforgiving, it doesn’t give you a second chance whereas a game will.”
The location-based Pokémon Go mobile game, which overlays a virtual world on real locations about the country, has rapidly become a worldwide phenomenon attracting millions of players from the US to Australia. But its use has not been without incident.
On Wednesday night three girls were spotted by the police standing in rough seas near Hastings Pier in East Sussex. Earlier in the week, Japanese players were urged to stay out of nuclear power plants and the Fukushima evacuation zones, while several car crashes have been reportedly caused by distracted players. Players in the US have also been illegally crossing the Canada-US border in search of Pokémon, while players in Bosnia have been warned to steer clear of landmines.
Meanwhile, mine rescue crews and fight fighters had to come to the aid of a group of teenagers in Wiltshire, who became lost within a network of caves at Box searching for Pokémon.
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