Rescue operation at Strangford Lough

Rescue operation at Strangford Lough

More than 200 people have safely returned to shore during a rescue operation at Strangford Lough after 87 dinghies at a sailing event were hit by stormy weather on Monday afternoon.

The vessels were hit by bad weather near Killyleagh in Co Down, where the nearby East Down Yacht Club is hosting the GP 14 World Championships this week.The Belfast Coastguard received a report just before 2pm that some of the boats had capsized, while others were struggling to cope in the strong winds and squally showers.The Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter along with the helicopter from RAF Valley were sent to the scene,The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service set up tents to treat people at the scene.Ten people were injured, with some of them showing signs of hypothermia. One person is understood to have suffered a head injury.Liam Colquhoun, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard, said: "We have now been told by our rescue units on scene that everyone has safely returned to shore and that no one is missing."We believe 20 people ended up in the water after their boats capsized this afternoon, 10 of them requiring medical attention."The weather conditions on scene have been pretty treacherous, with winds gusting up to 60mph. We're very thankful that everyone has now safely returned."The South Eastern Trust stood down a major incident at the Ulster Hospital around two hours later.SofS commends emergency teams for today's rescue operation at Strangford & wishes a speedy recovery to all those hurt pic.twitter.com/FZbRcdOiA0— NIO (@NIOPressOffice) August 11, 2014

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