Overdue vessel with 2 persons on board sparks large search off the Skye coast

Lifeboats News Release

The search involving Kyle & Portree lifeboats, a UK Coastguard helicopter and numerous Coastguard teams began at 8:40pm last night (Saturday 9th May) after a 4 metre rigid inflatable boat was reported as overdue, after failing to return to Strollamus

RNLI/Andrew MacDonald

Kyle lifeboat 'Spirit of Fred. Olsen'

Kyle lifeboat Spirit of Fred. Olsen launched at 8:45pm after a member of the public had reported the rib with 2 persons and 1 dog on board had failed to return to Strollamus after spending the day at sea. Kyle lifeboat began searching the coastline and small islands from Kyleakin heading north, whilst Portree lifeboat began searching from Portree heading south.

At 10:00pm with the light fading fast and still no sign of the missing vessel, the UK coastguard helicopter from Stornoway was called out and started heading towards the scene. A few minutes later one of the crew onboard Kyle lifeboat spotted a small light on the normally uninhabited island of Scalpay just off the Skye coast. The lifeboat went to investigate and located the 2 missing people, who had gone ashore after suffering engine problems earlier in the day. The crew checked that they were uninjured before taking them onboard the lifeboat and transporting them back to Broadford on Skye, where local Coastguard teams were waiting.

The lifeboat then returned to Kyle where it was refuelled and made ready for service by 11:40pm.

Speaking of the incident, a Kyle RNLI spokesperson said: ‘The couple had gone out searching for whelks when they had issues with their engine, so went ashore on Scalpay. The initial report had said they had a dog with them, however we discovered they had decided to leave it at home on this occasion’. He went on to say: ‘This search shows that during these unprecedented times of lockdown with bans on non-essential travel, the RNLI is still on call 24 hours a day.’

Notes to editors

· This is the 11th callout of the year for Kyle lifeboat

· Please credit the photo to Kyle RNLI (a higher quality version is available if required)

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact

Andrew MacDonald, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, 07748 707606 or montuba@gmail.com

Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), 07826 900639 or gemma_mcdonald@rnli.org.uk

Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Officer (Scotland), 07920 365929 or martin_macnamara@rnli.org.uk

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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.

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