Loch Ness lifeboat called to assist person in water
At 3.29 pm Monday afternoon volunteers launched the Loch Ness Lifeboat Colin James Daniel and headed for Altsigh in search of a person reported to be in the water.
The man and his partner, on holiday in the Highlands, were cruising in the middle of Loch Ness opposite Altsigh Youth Hostel when they realised they were in trouble. The man had gone into the water but after a short time was debilitated by the cold and found himself unable to get back on board his cruiser. His partner who is pregnant, was unable to pull him up but threw him over a lifebelt to help him stay afloat and dialled 999.
The Loch Ness RNLI volunteers were quickly ready to launch and make their way to the casualty, Howie Whyte at the Helm with Neil Stebbings and Linda Izquierdo-Ross, all very experienced lifeboat crew trained in casualty care. They were still 7 minutes away from the casualty when they got word that the Ness Express, a rib operated by Cruise Loch Ness out of Fort Augustus, had reached the casualty and pulled him out of the water. One of the passengers on the Ness Express, a Mr. Alan James, then went on board the cruiser with the pregnant woman in order to drive it back to Fort Augustus. Fortunately, also on board the rib was local first responder Kate James who helped look after the casualty. The rib made haste to Fort Augustus with the casualty where they were met by Police Scotland, who were first on scene. The Coastguard helicopter Rescue 951 then appeared and landed their winchman who assessed the casualty and decided that he should be airlifted to Raigmore Hospital.
The lifeboat crew soon arrived in Fort Augustus where they tied up alongside the barge Ros Crana and put two crew members ashore to offer assistance with casualty care. The man was severely shaken and suffering from cold, having been in the water for 45 minutes. The casualty was quickly transferred to the grounds of the Abbey where the helicopter was able to land safely and take the man aboard and then on to Raigmore Hospital.
The RNLI crew then made their way back out to Loch Ness and went alongside the cruiser to put crew member Neil Stebbings aboard. He was able to reassure the woman and let her know what had happened with her partner. The woman was distressed but otherwise ok and very grateful for all the assistance they had received. The lifeboat escorted the vessel the rest of the way to Fort Augustus where they handed over to the Coastguard shore team.
The Loch Ness lifeboat crew praised the Ness Express crew and passengers for their quick action and assistance to the casualty.
The man was treated at Raigmore A&E and later discharged.
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 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.