A 67-year-old north Suffolk man who was trapped in a bog for nearly seven hours said he was delighted to personally thank his rescuers, stating he would have never gotten free if not for their efforts.
Martin Kay, who lives in Thornham Parva, was reported missing on the evening of Monday, January 18, having not returned home after setting out with his dog at 2.30pm that afternoon.
Suffolk Police officers, with the help of a helicopter crew from NPAS Wattisham, were joined by Mr Kay’s friends and neighbours as they searched the north Suffolk village.
Footage from the helicopter’s thermal cameras shows how Mr Kay was finally found and rescued from a mud bog in a remote field at around 9pm, where his loyal pet, named Holly Blue, had remained by his side the entire time.
Reunited with the officers at RAF Wattisham last week, Mr Kay said: “It was marvellous to meet and personally thank them for saving my life.
“She (Holly Blue) has never been called upon to be so brave before.”
Mr Kay recounted how deviating from his usual walking path had led to him misjudging the terrain, and with the mud so thick, he could not free his legs or access his mobile phone to ring for assistance.
“I called for help, but I was not optimistic about anyone hearing me. I thought ‘either someone will find me or they won’t’ ”, he said.
“I wasn’t panicking — it was too cold for that!”
He explained he lost consciousness as the light faded, as he had no memory of being rescued until he woke up that night at West Suffolk Hospital, where he made a full recovery.
PCs Luke Allard, Clare Wayman and Neil Wisken, who were all part of the Suffolk Constabulary search team, recalled it was pitch black and about minus three degrees in temperature when they eventually located Mr Kay, who was lying in the mud, just barely awake and talking.
“He was completely covered in mud. If the helicopter hadn’t have seen him, I don’t think we would have found him. That’s how camouflaged he was,” said PC Wayman.
Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) David Bazlinton, who had piloted the helicopter, stated: “This was a perfect example of team work, joined up between the helicopter, local officers and dog handlers.
“On our own we couldn’t have done it, on their own they couldn’t have done it, but together we could.
He added: “This is a story with such a happy ending.”
Mr Kay’s wife Annie, who was in London at the time, said she had been “absolutely astonished” by the whole incident, and joked the family was now researching a tag to keep track of her husband.