Seven canoeists rescued in Co Down

Published Saturday, 15 March 2014
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A number of young people have been taken to hospital after being rescued from waters off Killyleagh, on the Co Down coast.

Seven canoeists rescued in Co Down
The scene at Killyleagh Harbour on Saturday afternoon. (© UTV)

Members of a Carryduff Scout Group got into difficulty while canoeing close to Killyleagh Harbour shortly before 12.30pm on Saturday.

The group had been travelling towards Salt Island on Strangford Lough when a change in the weather conditions capsized a number of their canoes.

Members of the public alerted the coastguard and a major rescue operation was launched involving the RNLI.

Six teenagers and a man in his 40s were rescued from the water and treated for hypothermia.

John Austin, Station Officer at Portaferry Coastguard, was one of the first to the scene.

He said when the initial call came, they were told that as many as 14 were in the water.

"When we arrived on scene seven guys were in the water," he told UTV.

"Two people were quite bad and needed to be taken away straight away.

"Every minute matters. Things like this happen, the water is very cold at this time of year.

"It is lucky that people were watching what was going on."

© UTV News
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