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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK
Phone mast switch-off delays crew
Rescue hovercraft - courtesy BARB
O2 is looking into the problem
Members of the Burnham-on-Sea rescue hovercraft are claiming a drop in mobile phone signal in the town means callout texts are being delayed.

They say the decommissioning of a mast in Highbridge is to blame.

A spokeswoman for O2 UK said the site at Pepperall Road was being redeveloped and a temporary mast nearby was not as tall, so the signal level was reduced.

"We weren't aware of the impact of this so we'll see if something can be done soon to boost the signal in the town."

'New masts'

She added the company would shortly be submitting a planning application for two new masts in the area which would make the coverage in the town better than before.

Alan Millar, chairman of the Burnham Rescue Hovercraft, said so far crew members have only missed training exercises or arrived late.

"Response times are often a critical factor when dealing with mud rescue incidents.

"Mobile phone companies should fully consider these kind of life-saving issues and notify key services well in advance of decommissioning work," he said.

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