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Islay RNLI rescue group of nine walkers in bad weather

Lifeboats News Release

At 1.27pm on Saturday 03 September Islay RNLI were tasked by the UK Coastguard to rescue a group of three adults and six children, one of whom was reported to be injured, in difficulty on the west coast of the Isle of Jura, south of Loch Tarbert.


Islay RNLI all-weather lifeboat
The Islay RNLI all-weather lifeboat Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II launched with seven volunteer crew and quickly made way to the scene. Heavy rain had been falling intermittently for the previous 24 hours. At the time of launch the weather was overcast with light winds and continuing drizzle.

The group had been planning to hike across Jura for a few days but got into difficulty reaching a river far exceeding its normal flow; unable to return they called for help. Cold and wet through they managed to make way to a sandy beach on the coast where the RNLI crew were able to gain access. The crew launched the smaller Y-class boat from the lifeboat and with a few runs were able to get everyone onto the lifeboat to safety.

Islay RNLI Coxswain David MacLellan said: “With the heavy, continuous rain walking conditions were challenging and the rivers extremely swollen and impossible to cross safely. We are pleased that the party were all well enough to get from the shore onto the lifeboat. We would urge anyone thinking of walking, especially in remote coastal locations, to check the weather forecast and tide times before heading out and make sure you have a means of calling 999 for help, like this group did.’.

If you’re planning a walk here are some more top safety tips from the RNLI charity:

  • Take care and be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside. Slips and falls happen in all locations, not just high cliff edges. If there are any, try to stick to marked pathways.
  • Tell someone else where you’re going and when you’ll be back. They can raise the alarm with the coastguard by calling 999 or 112 if you are overdue.

The Islay RNLI lifeboat returned to Port Askaig where the party of nine, all deemed well enough, were able to get back onto dry land and continue their journey back to the mainland. The all-weather lifeboat was ready for service again at 3.30pm.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.