Newcastle RNLI rescue five rowers who get into difficulty in challenging weather
Newcastle RNLI rescued five people early yesterday morning (Sunday 26 June) after they got into difficulty in challenging weather conditions 23 nautical miles north east of Ardglass.
The crew from the GB Row Challenge had left Tower Bridge London on the 12 June to circumnavigate Great Britain and to collect environmental data.
The vessel had been monitored throughout the night by HM Coastguard with frequent radio transmissions. During a check at 7am on Sunday, the rowers explained they had capsized and righted themselves but were unable to row.
Newcastle RNLI was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 7.15am. Weather conditions at the time were poor with a Force 7 southerly wind and very rough seas. The lifeboat launched under Gerry McConkey and with crewmembers Shane Rice, Lochlainn Leneghan, Declan McClelland, Karl Brannigan and Declan Barry onboard. Conditions deteriorated following the launch with weather increasing to a Force 9 southerly wind and high seas.
On arrival at 9.24am, the volunteer crew assessed the situation and decided a tow was necessary to bring the vessel’s crew to safety. Such were the conditions at sea that it took three attempts before a tow was successfully established. Newcastle RNLI then towed the vessel to the nearest safe port at Ardglass, a passage that took two hours.
The rowers were met by Newcastle Coastguard, and one was checked over by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
Speaking following the call out, Newcastle RNLI Coxswain Gerry McConkey said: ‘We would like to wish the rowers well following their experience yesterday after they got caught by the poor weather. I would also like to commend our volunteer crew who used their skills and training to work in what were extremely challenging conditions that deteriorated during the call out to successfully bring the five people to safety.’
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 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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