Valentine's Day ends in drama as diners rescued by army and emergency services in Milford-on-Sea

Bournemouth Echo: More than 30 people rescued from Milford-on-Sea restaurant after windows shattered by flying rocks More than 30 people rescued from Milford-on-Sea restaurant after windows shattered by flying rocks

Diners today relived the terrifying moment they had to flee for their safety after waves and rocks shattered the windows of a seaside restaurant during a Valentine's dinner.

Forty-one people at The Marine eatery at Milford-on-Sea, Hants, had to form a human chain as they waded through the flooded restaurant that was deluged by 30ft waves.

For full updates click here

They had to dodge out of the way of large pebbles and stones thrown up off the beach by the hurricane-force winds.

Bournemouth Echo:

Two women customers were carried out while others placed carrier bags over their high-heeled shoes before trudging through the 2ft high water.

The 36 customers and five members of staff were led out of the building by a combination of police officers, firemen and military personnel.

They had to wait for a break in the crashing of the waves before they could run across the car park and into waiting army trucks that evacuated them to a local leisure centre.

The flying stones peppered one of canvass-sided trucks and tore through it like small 'cannonballs.'

Bournemouth Echo:

As the left the area, many of the diners saw their parked cars being swept down the road by the tidal surge.

At daylight, the scene resembled a war-zone.

Virtually all of the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the two-storey restaurant were shattered and large craters had opened up in the tile flooring.

The business opened in 2010 after a two million pounds development and it is thought the cost of last night's damage will run to over 100,000 pounds.

The windows and windscreens of about a dozen cars had been smashed in and some vehicles were piled up against each other from where they were swept along.

Bournemouth Echo:

Large strips of torn wood and chunks of masonry from a row of demolished beach huts, worth 20,000 pounds each, were strewn across the coast road alongside the restaurant.

Jane Hopkins, 47, was enjoying a Valentine's meal with her partner Greg Pepper in the upstairs restaurant at the time.

She said: "We were in the middle of the restaurant watching wave after wave hit the windows along with shingle.

"It wasn't sea spray, they were full on waves and they must have been 30ft high to be reaching the top of the building.

"Then two of the windows started to crack and that's when the staff evacuated the restaurant and moved us into a back room.

"We were given coffee and chocolates before the fire brigade and Army arrived.

"We then had to go downstairs and wade through the water in the ground floor restaurant.

"I had my high heels on and some women wanted to take theirs off but were advised not to because of the amount of glass on the floor."

Miss Hopkins returned to the area today to inspect her Renault Scenic car which has been written off due to the water damage.

Bournemouth Echo:

Vicky Tongeman, 45, was sat at a window table with husband Brian.

She said: "It was very dark outside but every few seconds there was a loud whooshing noise from the waves hitting the windows.

"Then we started to hear pebbles hitting the glass and two of the windows cracked and that's when we were all moved back.

"The staff gave us plastic bags to put on our feet and when we went downstairs we had to wade through the water that was up to our shins.

"All the downstairs windows had been shattered and the noise from the sea was incredible."

Dave Kichley, 52, was enjoying a romantic meal with wife Sarah when the windows smashed.

He said: "You could hear wave after wave hitting the window and actually see the panes of glass moving before they were shattered by the stones.

"By that stage everybody had been moved towards the back of the restaurant."

Ryan Smith, 21, was the duty manager at The Marine last night.

He said: "It was horrific, absolutely terrifying.

"The night was all going very well and all of a sudden we heard stones flying at the window and then there was a loud crash from downstairs.

"I went to the top of the stairs and could see water up to knee height gushing into the downstairs area.

"We then heard the windows cracking upstairs and we started moving people away from the windows.

"Then two of the windows went and the water started coming into the restaurant. There was so much glass that it went halfway across the room.

"When we had to evacuate the building we had to form a human chain down the stairs and waded through the water to get to the main door.

"A few people didn't want to leave because they thought they would be safer upstairs.

"A few woman were carried out and we had to face the back wall to shield ourselves from the water and shingle flying in."

Susan Thompson, who owns the restaurant with husband Richard, said they had experienced 90mph winds before without any problems and decided not to cancel the bookings last night when they checked the weather forecast which started the wind speed was expected to be 80mph.

Mr Thompson said: "We didn't realise how ferocious is was going to be. It was quite horrendous and water just poured into the restaurant."

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:39am Sat 15 Feb 14

s-pb2 says...

Glad all were safe and well
Glad all were safe and well s-pb2

9:00am Sat 15 Feb 14

Huey says...

The army had to rescue some dinners, did they? Fascinating, what a shame you didn't get a photo of that.
The army had to rescue some dinners, did they? Fascinating, what a shame you didn't get a photo of that. Huey

9:40am Sat 15 Feb 14

whataboutthat says...

Pics better at the Daily Mail!
Pics better at the Daily Mail! whataboutthat

9:41am Sat 15 Feb 14

fedupwithfedupjobsworths says...

Why on earth go to a place on the beach when the weather was that bad, people are stupid. Stay at home with a meal deal. Very expensive night out for all of them with the cost of a Valentines day meal and having to buy a new car .
Why on earth go to a place on the beach when the weather was that bad, people are stupid. Stay at home with a meal deal. Very expensive night out for all of them with the cost of a Valentines day meal and having to buy a new car . fedupwithfedupjobsworths

10:01am Sat 15 Feb 14

mudeford7 says...

I expect they left without paying as they did not finish their meal and they were not happy with the service. I assume the police have their names and will be processed as leaving a eating place and not paying. I am only joking Iam, sorry they had a spoilt night and they came out uninjured
I expect they left without paying as they did not finish their meal and they were not happy with the service. I assume the police have their names and will be processed as leaving a eating place and not paying. I am only joking Iam, sorry they had a spoilt night and they came out uninjured mudeford7

10:12am Sat 15 Feb 14

steve.p. says...

Made of strong stuff Milford diners aren't they? What on earth possessed them to go in the first place. The owner should have shut the restaurant given the forecast, his desire for a Friday nights profit has cost thousands in rescue costs and more importantly put people's lives at risk. How would he be feeling this morning if there had been a fatality?
Made of strong stuff Milford diners aren't they? What on earth possessed them to go in the first place. The owner should have shut the restaurant given the forecast, his desire for a Friday nights profit has cost thousands in rescue costs and more importantly put people's lives at risk. How would he be feeling this morning if there had been a fatality? steve.p.

10:26am Sat 15 Feb 14

mherby says...

Owner very worried about lawsuits now I would imagine, revenue over common sense, and he still had a duty of care to his staff and customers, should not have been open.
Owner very worried about lawsuits now I would imagine, revenue over common sense, and he still had a duty of care to his staff and customers, should not have been open. mherby

12:11pm Sat 15 Feb 14

muscliffman says...

Sorry but let's bring in a bit of common sense, what on earth were these people thinking about sitting down right beside the sea for a meal last night during a massive storm that was dominating absolutely every form of the media? Did they not hear all the alerts (one specific to this part of the south coast) telling people to stay well away from the immediate seaside - because these repeating warnings were beginning to bore very many of us sitting safely and wisely at home to distraction?

It frankly beggars belief that the place was open, questions will undoubtedly be asked about that as it appears to be virtually on the beach and we should also ask why the brilliant rescuers were forced to put their own lives and property at risk saving these fools from their own incredibly bad judgement. I am glad everyone is OK but this so obviously should never have happened!

A 'professional Echo journalist' writes - "The army had to use their trucks and work with police, ambulance staff and coastguards to come to the rescue of the dinners at about 10pm last night" Good thinking by the rescuers who can now just pop them in the microwave and these 'dinners' should warm up a treat!
Sorry but let's bring in a bit of common sense, what on earth were these people thinking about sitting down right beside the sea for a meal last night during a massive storm that was dominating absolutely every form of the media? Did they not hear all the alerts (one specific to this part of the south coast) telling people to stay well away from the immediate seaside - because these repeating warnings were beginning to bore very many of us sitting safely and wisely at home to distraction? It frankly beggars belief that the place was open, questions will undoubtedly be asked about that as it appears to be virtually on the beach and we should also ask why the brilliant rescuers were forced to put their own lives and property at risk saving these fools from their own incredibly bad judgement. I am glad everyone is OK but this so obviously should never have happened! A 'professional Echo journalist' writes - "The army had to use their trucks and work with police, ambulance staff and coastguards to come to the rescue of the dinners at about 10pm last night" Good thinking by the rescuers who can now just pop them in the microwave and these 'dinners' should warm up a treat! muscliffman

2:05pm Sat 15 Feb 14

Bob49 says...

Flying rocks !

Since when did stones become 'rocks' ?

Uunless we are talking about some 1950's space film

The curse of the Flying Rocks
Flying rocks ! Since when did stones become 'rocks' ? Uunless we are talking about some 1950's space film The curse of the Flying Rocks Bob49

2:16pm Mon 17 Feb 14

ex-Bransgore says...

fedupwithfedupjobswo
rths
wrote:
Why on earth go to a place on the beach when the weather was that bad, people are stupid. Stay at home with a meal deal. Very expensive night out for all of them with the cost of a Valentines day meal and having to buy a new car .
Some people had booked months in advance and did not want to be disappointed or to disappoint their loved ones. Also, as people go to work come rain, hail, storm, then there was no difference in having to go out to enjoy oneself in the same weather conditions, after all, Brits are renowned for being made of strong stuff and hardy constitutions.
[quote][p][bold]fedupwithfedupjobswo rths[/bold] wrote: Why on earth go to a place on the beach when the weather was that bad, people are stupid. Stay at home with a meal deal. Very expensive night out for all of them with the cost of a Valentines day meal and having to buy a new car .[/p][/quote]Some people had booked months in advance and did not want to be disappointed or to disappoint their loved ones. Also, as people go to work come rain, hail, storm, then there was no difference in having to go out to enjoy oneself in the same weather conditions, after all, Brits are renowned for being made of strong stuff and hardy constitutions. ex-Bransgore

2:18pm Mon 17 Feb 14

ex-Bransgore says...

Bob49 wrote:
Flying rocks !

Since when did stones become 'rocks' ?

Uunless we are talking about some 1950's space film

The curse of the Flying Rocks
If you had been there as we were you could only have described the scene as "flying bullets" - it was horrific and terrifying.
[quote][p][bold]Bob49[/bold] wrote: Flying rocks ! Since when did stones become 'rocks' ? Uunless we are talking about some 1950's space film The curse of the Flying Rocks[/p][/quote]If you had been there as we were you could only have described the scene as "flying bullets" - it was horrific and terrifying. ex-Bransgore

2:18pm Mon 17 Feb 14

ex-Bransgore says...

fedupwithfedupjobswo
rths
wrote:
Why on earth go to a place on the beach when the weather was that bad, people are stupid. Stay at home with a meal deal. Very expensive night out for all of them with the cost of a Valentines day meal and having to buy a new car .
Some people had booked months in advance and did not want to be disappointed or to disappoint their loved ones. Also, as people go to work come rain, hail, storm, then there was no difference in having to go out to enjoy oneself in the same weather conditions, after all, Brits are renowned for being made of strong stuff and hardy constitutions.
[quote][p][bold]fedupwithfedupjobswo rths[/bold] wrote: Why on earth go to a place on the beach when the weather was that bad, people are stupid. Stay at home with a meal deal. Very expensive night out for all of them with the cost of a Valentines day meal and having to buy a new car .[/p][/quote]Some people had booked months in advance and did not want to be disappointed or to disappoint their loved ones. Also, as people go to work come rain, hail, storm, then there was no difference in having to go out to enjoy oneself in the same weather conditions, after all, Brits are renowned for being made of strong stuff and hardy constitutions. ex-Bransgore

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree