RNLI Invergordon called into action to assist in search for unaccounted Kayaker
Saturday 21st April, was the evening many were waiting for, the RNLI Whisky Tasting Event in association with local Distillery ‘Balblair’ and Novar Estate when the Volunteer Duty Crew pagers rang throughout the 18th Century recently converted lodge.
As details emerged from the Coastguard, the male kayaker was in a 8ft sea kayak, paddling between Rosemarkie and Cromarty and reports indicated he had not returned when expected. Whilst making best speed towards the casualty’s search location, the crew began the preparation for the inflatable daughter XP craft to be deployed once on scene.
As lookouts scoured the rugged coastline in a fast fading light, flank station RNLI Kessock were also launched to conduct a shoreline search to the West of the allocated area from Chanonry point towards the South Sutor, with Invergordon Searching from Cromarty to Rosemarkie.
Crew searching from the Upper Steering Position of the ALB spotted persons on the beach at Eathie Mains where smoke could be seen from a bothy. The crew launched the XP-Boat with 2 crew to investigate further but soon became apparent this was a group of 10, out camping, however had not seen the in-question Kayaker.
Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 951 from Dalcross was also tasked to conduct a sweeping search with use of the Innovative Technology on board the helicopter the‘Forward-looking Infrared (FLIR)’ thermal imaging camera.
With all initial searches complete, Aberdeen Coastguard requested the All-weather Lifeboat to search the Fort George Bay and RNLI Kessock to search round into Cromarty Harbour before continuing North towards Balintore.The Lifeboat searched the bay and nothing reported, whilst local Coastguard teams searched carparks and coastal paths.
Search Co-ordinator Aberdeen Coastguard made an announcement to all SAR units that the Kayaker had made contact via telephone to inform he was safe and well, to which saw all units stand down at 9.15pm.The crew made best speed back to Invergordon West Harbour, where the Lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service.
On completion, the Duty Crew then made their way back to Novar Estate to which now was the finished Whisky Tasting Evening and help with the tidy up operation.
Early indications of the event show just over £2000 raised for the RNLI with a full Press Release in the next couple of days.
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.