Helvick RNLI rescue three kayakers stranded on rocks at Kilmurrin Cove
Volunteer lifeboat crew from Helvick Head RNLI in Waterford, rescued three kayakers stranded on rocks at Kilmurrin Cove yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 July) when a sudden squall capsized one of the kayaks and the group were forced onto the rocks as conditions rapidly deteriorated.
The three kayakers were brought to safety when the lifeboat crew carried out a challenging manoeuvre to bring the lifeboat close to the rocks in the choppy waters and the group were helped onto the lifeboat by lifeboat crew and the winchman from Rescue 117.
The alarm was raised at 12.18pm and Helvick RNLI were joined on scene by Rescue 117, Bunmahon Coast Guard and Bunmahon Community Rescue Boat. The kayakers got into difficulty when conditions turned from mild to challenging quite quickly. Squalls and horizontal rain saw one kayaker capsize and the group were pushed over to rocks at Kilmurrin Cove. Taking refuge on the sharp rocks in the worsening conditions, a rescue operation was immediately launched. The winchman from Rescue 117 was able to descend from the helicopter onto the rocks and stay with the group as the lifeboat crew made the difficult approach to the rocks.
With no shoreline or safe landing spot, the lifeboat Helm performed a veering down manoeuvre which brought the lifeboat close to the rocks. A lifeboat crewmember swam to the rocks to assist the Rescue 117 winchman with the transfer of the casualties onto the lifeboat. In a highly precise and closely timed exercise, which relied on the crew taking note of the movement of the lifeboat into and away from the rocks, the three casualties were helped onboard the lifeboat and brought to the safety of the shore, where they were met by members of Bunmahon Coast Guard.
Commenting on the callout Helvick Head RNLI crewmember Joe Foley said, ‘“This was a great outcome in some challenging conditions. The wind picked up very quickly out there and the group were right to seek safety on the rocks. We were glad to see that they were all wearing buoyancy aids and had not sustained any injuries other than some scratches. The veering down manoeuvre which we carried out is something that we practice regularly in training, but every scenario is different, and it is challenging when dealing with multiple casualties and a moving lifeboat in choppy water. We have a great group of search and rescue agencies around here and we all work well together.”
The RNLI advises to always wear the proper safety equipment for your activity and always bring a means of calling for help.
This is the fourth callout for Helvick RNLI in the last ten days.
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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 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.
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