Red Bay RNLI involved in rescue of cragfast climber in Force 9 gale

Lifeboats News Release

Red Bay RNLI assisted in the rescue of a climber who became cragfast on cliffs at Fair Head, near Ballycastle, late last night (Tuesday 28 September).

Two Coastguard rescue teams carried out a difficult and complex rescue in a Force 9 gale.

​At about 11.30pm yesterday (Tuesday 28 September), Belfast Coastguard received a report from a local Coastguard Rescue Team member that a climber needed rescuing after becoming cragfast whilst climbing the cliff.

Ballycastle and Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Teams and Red Bay RNLI's all-weather lifeboat were sent to the scene along with the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.  The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was also informed of the incident.

Daniel McAuley, Station Officer for Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Team said: ‘The two climbers had started climbing the cliff at around 5pm and when the winds started to pick up, the position of the ropes they were using for support moved.  Luckily, one of the climbers managed to get the top and raise the alarm at a local farmhouse nearby.  The occupants of the farmhouse quickly alerted one of the local Coastguard team members who called the job into the Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre.

‘A combination of working in darkness, the instability of the cliff edge and the 44 knot winds meant that we had to set up 30 metres away from the edge of the cliff to make sure the equipment was secure.  We were very grateful to the Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre for co-ordinating the response and for the Coastguard helicopter and the RNLI lifeboat, who shone their lights on the climber and our operational work so we could work safely.  Without their vital support, our jobs would have been made all the more difficult. This is a great example of how these teams worked brilliantly together under challenging circumstances to rescue the climber. Thankfully, he did not require any medical attention or treatment after being rescued.’

‘The climbers did the right thing by calling the Coastguard as soon as they got into difficulty.  Unfortunately, they got caught out by the change in the wind conditions - we’re just glad they’re safe and well now.’

Paddy McLaughlin, Red Bay RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer added: 'We would like to wish the two climbers well following what must have been a frightening ordeal for them last night. This call out in challenging conditions, was a great example of a community effort to help someone in difficulty. In darkness and poor weather conditions the rescue teams used their skills and training to good effect and we were happy to be able to assist.'


RNLI Media Contacts

For more information please contact Paddy McLaughlin, Red Bay RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07802 308821. ​

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.