Two children had to be rescued after they became stuck in mud on the construction site of the guided busway in Manchester.
A family out walking in the fields near Leigh tried to cross the public transport works and got into difficulties in the soft mud yesterday morning.
The two adults were stuck up to their waists at one point but managed to get to safety.
The two children, who were in the mud to their knees, were not strong enough to pull themselves out.
Fire crews from Atherton and Leigh stations and a water incident unit from Eccles attended the scene and managed to find another way on to the building site to rescue them.
Ambulance crews checked out the family members, who were suffering from the cold but were otherwise unhurt.
Watch manager Dave Holden from Atherton fire station said “The family was out for a walk along the bus route that’s under construction and through the fields, and they’ve tried to get across and got stuck.
“A lot of heavy plant machinery has been going up and down there and it’s churning up the mud. When it gets wet and cold, like it has been recently, there’s about two feet of soft mud.
“At one point the adults were almost waist deep in the mud but they’ve self-rescued. We had a young girl and a young boy stuck, so we found a different route down to wade across to get them out.
“They were just cold, and I think they were a bit embarrassed too.”
Holden said walkers out near the guided busway route should think again before trying to use the building site as a short cut.
He said: “It’s a construction site and just because the gates are open it doesn’t mean it’s safe to go through if you’re out walking, particularly in this sort of weather.”
Balfour Beatty is main contractor on the £27m project which is due for completion later this year.