Portaferry RNLI lifeboat called to three casualties in Strangford Lough

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Date: 26/11/2011

Author: Portaferry RNLI lifeboat called to three casualties in Strangford Lough, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer

Portaferry RNLI lifeboat volunteers took part in the dramatic rescue of three casualties in stormy seas just off Ballyhornan, in Strangford Lough, Co. Down in a coordinated rescue involving Newcastle RNLI, the South Down Coastguard and the Irish Coastguard helicopter.

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Three young men had entered the Lough shortly before 11am this morning (Saturday 26 November) as part of a “coasteering” outdoor adventure group but got into difficulties in strong tides and extremely strong winds. Several of the party, who had chosen not to enter the water, raised the alarm.

Brian Bailie, Portaferry Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The weather, the sea in that part of the Lough and the rocks around the rugged coastline made for a particularly challenging rescue so I took the decision to request the help of the Newcastle RNLI Lifeboat.’

The Irish Coastguard helicopter and the South Down Coastguard were also instrumental in the rescue, the helicopter landing so that the paramedic on board could assess one of the casualties. All three were reported to be safe and well.

Mr Bailie added: ‘The casualties fortunately had all of the right “coasteering” equipment, including wet suits, buoyancy aids and helmets but the conditions proved too challenging for them. We would encourage anyone engaging in these types of outdoor pursuits to keep their equipment in excellent condition and to check weather forecasts before leaving home to help ensure their day out remains enjoyable and safe.’

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