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Portrush and Red Bay RNLI respond to Mayday after two boats get into difficulty

Lifeboats News Release

Portrush and Red Bay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats launched today (Sunday 23 September) at 2.15pm in response to a Mayday and a launch request from the Coastguard to initial reports of a vessel in difficulty two miles off Bull Point at Rathlin Island.

Portrush and Red Bay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats launched today (Sunday 23 September) at 2.15pm in response to a Mayday and a launch request from the Coastguard to initial reports of a vessel in difficulty two miles off Bull Point at Rathlin Island.

As the lifeboats under Coxswains Des Austin and Paddy McLaughlin were launched, information was received to indicate that there were two boats in difficulty and in danger of sinking.

The first boat with three onboard had broken down and when the second vessel with two onboard went to assist, it too got into difficulty and both boats were swamped.

Visibility was good with but conditions were challenging with moderate to rough seas and a north west/westerly wind Force 6.

As both volunteer crews made their way to the scene it was reported that the Rathlin Ferry which had also made its way to the scene west of Rathlin Island, had reached the casualties and were able to get all five people transferred and onboard the ferry where they were safe and well. The ferry was also able to get the two boats under tow, but after discussions with the RNLI and the Coastguard it was decided that the lifeboats would take the vessels to safety.

The two RNLI crews agreed to take a boat each under tow back into Rathlin Island and out of the way of any other vessels that might be in the area.

Speaking following the call out, Kerry Gregg, Portrush RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘This was a perfect example of team work, with the two volunteer lifeboat crews, the HM Coastguard and the Rathlin Island Ferry all working well together to make sure that the five people were brought to safety and that their two boats were towed back to shore and secured safely.

‘The weather conditions were not ideal at sea today, but our crews are highly skilled and train regularly with each other to prepare for situations like these. We were glad to be able to help and would like to wish the casualties well after what must have been a frightening experience for them today’.

Ends

RNLI/Judy Nelson

Rib under two

RNLI/Judy Nelson

Portrush and Red Bay RNLI on Rathlin Island

RNLI/Judy Nelson

Rib under tow Portrush RNLI

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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