Family of six among RNLI rescued

Published Tuesday, 28 January 2014
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A family of six, who got into difficulties off the coast of Castlerock, were among the 575 people rescued by RNLI lifeboat and lifeguard crews throughout 2013.

Family of six among RNLI rescued
2013 proved to be a busy year for lifeboat crews. (© RNLI)

Figures for the past year show that lifeboats, based across Northern Ireland's nine stations launched 255 times, with crews spending almost 1,500 hours at sea collectively bringing 245 people to safety.

The Enniskillen base, which operates from two inland stations on Upper and Lower Lough Erne in county Fermanagh, had the most call outs launching 56 times over the 12 months and saving 82 people from danger.

Portrush RNLI in county Antrim had 47 call outs bringing 33 people to safety while Bangor RNLI in County Down launched 31 times and rescued 23 people.

One of the most dramatic and challenging callouts saw a fisherman from Portavogie, who was in the water for 45 minutes after his vessel sank off the coast of County Down, rescued by the RNLI lifeboat crew in Portaferry last September.

And in another incident, in July, 30 people were rescued by Kinsale and Courtmacsherry lifeboat crews when the tall ship Astrid was blown onto rocks and started to take on water off the south coast of Ireland.

In the three lifeguard areas, on beaches in Newry and Mourne, County Down and the Causeway Coast area, 330 people were rescued in 302 incidents.

The Causeway Coast, where there are seven units, was the busiest area, with lifeguards responding to 222 incidents and assisting 247 people.

Among these incidents was the dramatic rescue of a family of six in Castlerock after they got caught in a flash rip - a strong current running out to sea.

Our lifeboat crews are highly trained and equipped to deal with the challenges they face and we are indebted to their dedication to respond when the need arises.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI

Overall in Ireland, RNLI lifeboats launched just over 1,000 times in 2013 bringing 1,278 people to safety.

Among those incidents included 10 occasions in which lifeboat crews were called upon to rescue animals.

These included four dogs, two sheep, a cow, two whales and a dolphin.

Overall there was an increase in the RNLI's activity with 221 more people brought to safety compared to the previous year.

The RNLI said one of the hottest summers for years reflected the busy season.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI divisional operations manager for Northern Ireland said: "2013 proved to be another busy year with an increase in both our lifeboat launches and rescues.

"Sadly, not every call out results in a rescue and 2013 also brought its share of tragedy.

"A number of our call outs involved searches for missing people and in some incidents, they involved bringing home loved ones who were lost at sea.

"These call outs, while challenging for all involved, demonstrate the commitment and seamanship of our crews who devote many hours to a search and recovery effort."

Mr Morrison reminded the public that irrespective of weather conditions, the water always presents a risk.

He continued: "We would remind water users to always wear a lifejacket, get the appropriate training, carry a means of calling for help, check engine and fuel, tell others where you are going and check weather and tides.

"I would like to say a huge thank you to our volunteers and all those who support the RNLI, a charity dependent on the generosity of the public, whether by giving up their time or by making a donation.

"I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in the Coastguard and emergency services who we worked closely with in 2013."

© UTV News
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