THREE quick-thinking girls have spoken of their ordeal after they got stuck in sinking mud in Cranleigh, Standish.
The three school friends – Emily Howard, 12, Ellie Talbot, 11 and Molly Ollerton, 12 – sparked a major rescue operation when they were walking Molly’s dog, Toby, and became stuck in the thick mud on the old Victoria Colliery site at around 2pm last Monday.
As they tried to cross the mud, they became stuck fast and they called for help.
The three Standish High School pupils used mobile phones to alert the emergency services and their parents.
Six police officers, one of the girl’s parents, two ambulance crews and three fire engines, as well as the police helicopter were involved in the rescue.
Emily said: “I called the police on my mobile, and they told us not to panic and tell them as much as possible about where we were.”
Ellie managed to get free and ran to Cranleigh to guide the police.
She said: “I ran to go and find the police as we couldn’t be seen from the road and showed them where Molly and Emily were stuck.”
One of the first on the scene was Molly’s dad Paul.
He said: “I got down there and they were up to their knees in mud and it was treacherous.
“Thankfully the police responded really quickly, and I managed to pull them free by getting a piece of wood and putting it across the mud.
“The officer clung on to me as I pulled them free. It was good to see the emergency services respond so quickly.”
Police praised the girls’ actions and all three suffered no more than cuts and bruises, as well as being very cold. They were checked out at Wigan Infirmary but soon released.
Emily’s mum, Tracy, said: “I’d like to thank everybody who helped in the rescue otherwise who knows what may have happened.
“I had just got in from work when my mother rang to tell me, and I raced down to Cranleigh, but thankfully they had been pulled free by then.”
The girls are looking forward to telling other school friends when they go back today after the half-term break, but said they would not be going back there to walk the dog again.