Emergency services scrambled to save the lives of three teenagers after they had become trapped in quicksand.
Police rushed to the scene after receiving a call from the boys as they were stuck in the mud for 45 minutes.
The wandering teens were left in the freezing cold in complete darkness after becoming trapped at the large quarry in Mansfield Woodhouse.
Four police officers were called at around 6:30pm on February 6 after the boys became stranded following a bike ride.
They became increasingly stuck each time they moved, according to the police.
Call room operators kept the lads calm throughout the incident, and told one of the boys to download the What3Words app – a geo-locational tool used to pinpoint users’ exact locations – which then allowed officers to find where they were.
PC Andy Crosby said: “Thanks to some great work by the control room team we were soon able to locate the boys in the dark using the What3Words app, which we all now have on our phones. That helped us get close enough to them to hear their shouts for help.
“None of them were appropriately dressed for the conditions and they’d already been stuck in the mud for around 45 minutes by the time we reached them.
“The weather was terrible and we could see they were losing colour in their faces and were starting to panic. Every time they moved they sunk deeper into the sand.
“We knew we had to get them out as quickly as possible and were able to identify an area of harder ground nearby we could get to on foot.
“Using a rope from the back of our van we were supported by two members of the public to haul the boys out one by one.
“I’ve been a police officer for the last 18 years but had never dealt with a situation like this. Given the weather conditions that night all three could have died if we’d not been able to find them.
"I really hope they realise how serious this incident was and what could have happened if they’d been unable to raise the alarm.”
The boys, who are believed to have been out on a bike ride during the day, were treated at the scene by paramedics and one was taken to hospital as a precaution.
None of them were injured during the incident and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service also attended the scene.
Group Manager Matt Reavill said: “A mud rescue is a specialist incident type, requiring specialist equipment. That means that although the incident was in Mansfield, specialist teams had to be brought in from Newark and Highfields.
“Avoidable incidents such as this take away resources from other potential incidents. While it was a happy ending and we are pleased the boys are ok, they shouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place.
“I would like to urge anyone to take this as a lesson to download the What3Words app which will help us locate you in an emergency, quickly and efficiently. “
Superintendent Kevin Broadhead, responsible for community policing outside the city of Nottingham, said: “This was a great bit of work by officers and control room staff.
"Presented with a difficult and evolving scene they all displayed a great deal of bravery and initiative to help bring this incident to a safe conclusion.”
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