UPDATE: 'Get me out of here' - desperate plea of tragic teacher Charlotte who died in sea cave

Dorset Echo: TRAGIC: Charlotte Furness-Smith TRAGIC: Charlotte Furness-Smith

AN INQUEST heard of the daring attempts to rescue a tragic teacher who became trapped in a sea cave.

Harrowing accounts of rescuers were given at an inquest into the death of Charlotte 'Buffy' Furness-Smith, who was heard to scream 'Get me out of here' before she died.

Coastguards faced a race against time in 'atrocious' conditions' to save the life of the 30-year-old teacher and former Royal Navy reservist who had been washed into a cave on the Jurassic Coast during a coasteering adventure.

Portland Coastguard helicopter winchman paramedic Adrian Rogers said he was lowered down to the cave and managed to speak to Charlotte through a blowhole.

He said she sounded “distressed and scared” but he was unable to rescue her on his own.

A volunteer coastguard team then attempted a rope-assisted rescue through a blowhole as they said it was impossible to enter via the cave mouth. The team said they worked 'at the edge of what was safe' but believed there was a chance they could save her.

Ian Bugler, who volunteered to be lowered down, said: “The cave was very dark and murky.

“She was being thrown around in the water and was face down being thrown against the ledge. At this point I was satisfied that she had died.

“I was bashed about by the waves. I was getting very concerned for my own safety. Eventually I was pulled up.”

His father, Andrew Bugler, also a volunteer coastguard, said: “I could hear her screaming 'get me out of here'. She was terrified.

“We were all nervous about this rescue as sending someone into a blowhole in these circumstances is not something we have done before.”

Gareth Kitching said: “We decided any attempt at a rescue through the mouth of the cave would be futile. It was incredibly rough and I feared Ian would die in that cave.

“We were playing right at the very edge of what was safe. I can't tell you how atrocious the conditions were.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing and given my time again I would not have deployed him into that hole. He is a very brave man.”

Russell Thompson of coasteering company Cumulus Outdoors said: “I would never have thought about getting into the water on that day.”

He added that he and a colleague had been “weather-watching” and said the area might be suitable on “a flat, calm day for someone with coasteering experience”.

Brother's bid to get help

THE devastated brother of Charlotte Furness-Smith told the inquest of his desperate attempts to get help.

Alex Furness-Smith was washed into the cave near Swanage with his sister in November last year.

He managed to swim to safety and raise the alarm but his sister could not be rescued and died at the scene.

The pair had travelled to Dorset to go kite-surfing but decided to go coasteering instead due to the weather conditions. Coasteering is an adventure activity that involves free climbing up and along a rock face and jumping into the water to swim.

Charlotte, a maths teacher from London, was an engineering graduate and former Royal Navy reservist. She was a strong swimmer.

Charlotte's body was never recovered but an inquest is underway at Bournemouth after Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne applied for permission from the Chief Coroner in London to conduct inquiries.

Mr Furness-Smith, 31, from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, said sea conditions rapidly deteriorated after they entered the water near the Tilly Whim caves.

He said: “The swell had become much larger. I was tossed upside down under water and into the cave.

“Buffy was a bit scared at this point - I told her it would be OK.”

He said he seized the opportunity to get out of the cave to raise the alarm, leaving his sister behind.

“The only option was for one of us to try to get out and get help. I decided I would go out and try to get help rather than risk both of us getting smashed against the rocks.”

He managed to attract the attention of people on the clifftop and a rescue operation was mounted.

The inquest continues.

Comments (7)

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2:56pm Tue 18 Mar 14

elloello1980 says...

One can only imagine the emotions he would have gone through, and still going through.

RIP Charlotte
One can only imagine the emotions he would have gone through, and still going through. RIP Charlotte elloello1980
  • Score: 15

11:25am Wed 19 Mar 14

chesilboy says...

A very very sad story. Best wishes to everyone involved in this.

As for the Echo covering the whole front page with "GET ME OUT OF HERE". Words fail me.
A very very sad story. Best wishes to everyone involved in this. As for the Echo covering the whole front page with "GET ME OUT OF HERE". Words fail me. chesilboy
  • Score: 17

11:27am Wed 19 Mar 14

Chalbury says...

This is a tragic incident which was totally preventable. Time and time again incidents like this happen. Persons seeking a 'thrill' put themselves at risk without any forethought for the consequences should anything go wrong as in this case. The grief and loss that her family are going through must be horrendous - having to hear in detail in the coroners court must be unbearable.

However...their actions on that fateful day also put their rescuers lives at risk and that is unforgivable.

"A volunteer coastguard team then attempted a rope-assisted rescue through a blowhole as they said it was impossible to enter via the cave mouth" Many persons owe their lives to people who selflessly put their lives at risk to save others.

The coastline is a beautiful place in all weathers, but it must be treated with the respect that it deserves.

Don't just think of your fun - also think of the consequences that could happen those who come to rescue you - many of whom are unpaid!
This is a tragic incident which was totally preventable. Time and time again incidents like this happen. Persons seeking a 'thrill' put themselves at risk without any forethought for the consequences should anything go wrong as in this case. The grief and loss that her family are going through must be horrendous - having to hear in detail in the coroners court must be unbearable. However...their actions on that fateful day also put their rescuers lives at risk and that is unforgivable. "A volunteer coastguard team then attempted a rope-assisted rescue through a blowhole as they said it was impossible to enter via the cave mouth" Many persons owe their lives to people who selflessly put their lives at risk to save others. The coastline is a beautiful place in all weathers, but it must be treated with the respect that it deserves. Don't just think of your fun - also think of the consequences that could happen those who come to rescue you - many of whom are unpaid! Chalbury
  • Score: 10

12:47pm Wed 19 Mar 14

elloello1980 says...

Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today.

I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends.
Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today. I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends. elloello1980
  • Score: 4

1:38pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Parkstreetshufle says...

elloello1980 wrote:
Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today.

I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends.
Id agree - there is an element of ghoulishness to running a story and revelling in details of how distressed someone was - yes it might be court reporting but still is it necessary?.
Pretty poor way to feel papers.
[quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today. I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends.[/p][/quote]Id agree - there is an element of ghoulishness to running a story and revelling in details of how distressed someone was - yes it might be court reporting but still is it necessary?. Pretty poor way to feel papers. Parkstreetshufle
  • Score: 1

3:00pm Wed 19 Mar 14

elloello1980 says...

Parkstreetshufle wrote:
elloello1980 wrote: Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today. I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends.
Id agree - there is an element of ghoulishness to running a story and revelling in details of how distressed someone was - yes it might be court reporting but still is it necessary?. Pretty poor way to feel papers.
We want local, honest news.

If I wanted to read on after seeing unconsiderate headlines, I'd buy The Sun
[quote][p][bold]Parkstreetshufle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today. I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends.[/p][/quote]Id agree - there is an element of ghoulishness to running a story and revelling in details of how distressed someone was - yes it might be court reporting but still is it necessary?. Pretty poor way to feel papers.[/p][/quote]We want local, honest news. If I wanted to read on after seeing unconsiderate headlines, I'd buy The Sun elloello1980
  • Score: 1

7:56am Thu 20 Mar 14

southwellman says...

elloello1980 wrote:
Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today.

I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends.
I am sure we shall have many disagreements in time.. but I have to agree with you on you on this one.
[quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: Shame on the Dorset Echo for how you've covered this story, today. I hope this has not brought any further upset to her family and friends.[/p][/quote]I am sure we shall have many disagreements in time.. but I have to agree with you on you on this one. southwellman
  • Score: -1

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