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#Rescue - Coleraine Coastguard rescued a teenage girl who was stranded at the base of a 100ft cliff at Castlerock yesterday evening (Monday 24 July).

The coastguard rescue team was tasked to Castlerock following a report of two girls cut off by the tide, one of whom was reported as having been injured. 

Ballycastle Coastguard, both Portrush lifeboats and RNLI lifeguards in the area were also tasked to assist.

The lifeguards managed to locate one teenage girl at the base of the cliff, just below the caravan park.

One lifeguard and one crew member from the inshore lifeboat landed on the rocks to assist the stranded girl, who was by that point hypothermic, distressed and exhausted from having tried to swim to safety. 

She had also sustained a number of abrasions from making contact with the rocks.

Although the spring tide was rising rapidly, her condition made a rescue by sea very difficult. It was therefore decided to carry out a rope rescue.

A coastguard rope rescue technician descended the cliff and brought the stranded girl to safety, just as the waves broke over the rocky platform where she was stranded.

The teenager was soon reunited at the cliff top with her parents and with her friend, who had managed to swim to safety and had raised the alarm.

Both girls were taken to hospital by ambulance as a precaution against secondary drowning. 

The coastguard later found two teenage boys had been with the girls, sustaining lacerations and abrasions as they tried to cross the rocks towards Castlerock beach.

Earlier in the evening, Coleraine Coastguard was tasked to White Rocks in Portrush where a four-year-old boy had sustained a head injury on the rocks.

On arrival it was found that the RNLI lifeguards on duty had assisted the child and delivered him into the care of the NI Ambulance Service.

Published in Rescue

The yacht that sank off Wexford yesterday afternoon was the Scottish–owned Ker 39 Inis Mor. The top performer was en route to the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) National Championships that begin at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour on Thursday. 

A social media post by the crew last night said: 'By now a lot of you may have heard the sad news. We are all glad that Clarke, Bob and Clara are safe and well. Unfortunately this afternoon Inis Mor sunk whilst on her way to Crosshaven. Clearly we are all absolutely gutted but very thankful to the [Coastguard] Rescue 117 helicopter crew who got the guys out the life raft and the Kilmore Quay RNLI team who came to assist'.

inis mor liferaft rescueThe crew, two men and a woman, evacuated to a liferaft (one crew visible top left of raft). Photo: Rescue 117

Inis Mor Ker 39Clyde–based Inis Mor, a Ker 39, was due to race at the ICRA championships on Thursday. Photo: Facebook/Inis Mor

inis mor routeThe yacht made good progress from the Clyde to Scotland and called in to Dun Laoghaire on its passage down the Irish Sea. Screengrab: Marine Traffic

As Afloat.ie reported earlier, the three sailors were rescued by Coastguard Helicopter and brought to Waterford airport. 

Rescue 117 reported it was tasked to a yacht sinking off the Saltee Islands on social media: 'The yacht crew had issued a Mayday call and had taken to their life-raft. The life-raft was spotted 11 miles away by our winchman on the FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) camera. Rescue 117 winched the three crew from the life-raft to the safety of the aircraft. They did not require any medical attention. Kilmore Quay lifeboat were also on scene. The yacht sank shortly after'.

The yacht, one of several international competitors travelling to the event, was one of four competing in Class Zero of the Cork Harbour based Championships. Read Afloat.ie's ICRA Runners and Riders event preview here.

Inis Mor is a 39–footer and a previous winner of the Round Ireland Race. 

Kilmore Quay RNLI attempted to keep the yacht afloat with pumps after it began to sink in ten–foot swells off the Saltee Islands.

Inis mor postYesterday's Facebook post on social media from onboard confirmed Inis Mor's location on the south coast and her final destination but just hours later the yacht sank (below)  Screengrab: Marine Traffic

inis mor position rescue

The Clyde–based yacht was was one of the biggest boats entered in the ICRA championships and was to compete at the three-day annual regatta starting on Thursday.

Afloat.ie sources say problems started when a toilet cracked on board and this led to the water ingress.

Published in ICRA

Three UK sailors, two men and a woman, were rescued off the Wexford coast this afternoon after their 39–foot yacht got into difficulty.

The yacht sank quickly after a toilet fractured and it started taking on water in ten–foot swells off the Saltee Islands.

The yacht began to sink and a Mayday call was made after three o'clock.

The search and rescue helicopter from Waterford airport managed to take the crew from the water. Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat also attended.

According to RTE.ie news, the three crew were brought to Waterford airport and did not need to go to hospital.

An RNLI spokeswoman told Afloat.ie: 'Three onboard evacuated into life raft where they were rescued by Waterford Coast Guard Helicopter. Kilmore Quay RNLI went onboard to try and pump water off the yacht and recovered the liferaft'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Rescue - Coastguard units from Ballycastle and Coleraine were tasked on Friday night (26 May) to the aid of a dog fell more than 30 feet off a cliff near the Giant’s Causeway in Co Antrim.

The coastguard teams used their specialist rope rescue equipment to lower a technician down the cliff to secure Bell the springer spaniel and lift her up to her grateful owners.

Belfast Coastguard reminds anyone with pets on or near the water to keep them on leads, especially close to cliffs. If an accident should happen, don't attempt a rescue yourself – always call the coastguard who are trained for the purpose.

In other news from the North Coast, the iconic Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is closed until further notice after vandals attempted to cut it down.

TheJournal.ie has more on the incident last week, as the National Trust awaits investigation by structural engineers to determine the extent of the damage to the coastal tourism attraction.

Published in Rescue

#Missing - Police Scotland confirmed that two bodies were recovered from the Irish Sea in the search for a speedboat missing off the Scottish coast, according to Yachting & Boat World.

RNLI lifeboats and coastguard volunteers from Northern Ireland were involved in the search for the speedboat and its two occupants off Dumfries and Galloway, as reported yesterday on Afloat.ie.

Published in News Update

#Rescue - A surfer was rescued from the sea off Northern Ireland yesterday evening (Monday 1 May) after more than 30 hours in the water.

Belfast Coastguard co-ordinated the search for the missing man who had gone surfing near Campbeltown in Argyll, Western Scoland on Sunday and failed to return.

A large area of sea and shoreline was searched from lunchtime on Monday when the alarm was raised, involving RNLI lifeboats from Campbeltown and Islay in Scotland and Red Bay in Co Antrim, as well as coastguard rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen, and HM Coastguard’s rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.

Dawn Petrie at Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre, who was co-ordinating the search, said: “Hope was fading of finding the surfer safe and well after such a long period in the water and with nightfall approaching we were gravely concerned.

“But at 7.30pm tonight, the crew on the coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surfboard and 13 miles off the coast.

“He was kitted out with all the right clothing including a thick neoprene suit and this must have helped him to survive for so long at sea. He is hypothermic but conscious and has been flown to hospital in Belfast.”

HM Coastguard reminds all coastal users this summer to be prepared before you go out on the water or at the coast where conditions can change quickly. Tell someone where you are going and take an appropriate means of raising the alarm in an emergency.

RNLI Add: 
A Northern Ireland lifeboat was involved in the huge search and rescue operation for a missing surfer who left a Scottish beach on Sunday morning and spent 32 hours at sea before being found last night (Monday 1 May). Red Bay RNLI were requested to launch by Belfast coastguard to join with the Scottish lifeboats, Campbeltown and Islay, along with rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen and the Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Prestwick. The man was eventually located by the coastguard helicopter and transferred to hospital.
The young man had set off to go surfing off the Argyll coast on Sunday morning and had not been heard from since 11.30am. In a huge search operation RNLI lifeboats were launched on both sides of the Irish Sea with Scottish and Irish lifeboats searching the extensive body of water for the missing man.
At 7.30pm the missing surfer was located by the coastguard helicopter and was still with his surfboard 13 miles off the coast.
Commenting on the search and rescue operation Red Bay RNLI Coxswain Paddy McLaughlin said, ‘This was a huge search and rescue operation. To have lifeboats launched from both Scotland and Ireland shows the incredible effort that went into the search. Our lifeboat crews along with our colleagues in the coastguard undertook an extensive and detailed search in the large area between the two coasts and thankfully this resulted in a successful outcome.’
‘The young man wore the correct clothing and stayed with his surfboard, giving himself valuable time and keeping safe. It just shows that even after 32 hours at sea people can be found and rescued. We wish the young man a full recovery after his ordeal.’

Published in Rescue

After four weeks searching for missing crew of Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 116, the Air Accident Investigation Unit and An Garda Síochána in conjunction with Coast Guard have expressed their sincere appreciation to the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) and Marine Institute who were supported by GSI (Geological Survey Office), for the extensive search conducted in the vicinity of Black Rock lighthouse following the tragic loss of Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 on March 14. 

The search operation conducted by the Marine Institute's Holland 1 ROV concluded this afternoon when the Granuaile departed Blacksod Bay.

Supt. Tony Healy confirmed that the Garda water unit would conduct diving searches in the vicinity of Blackrock Light as soon as wind and tidal conditions are considered suitable.

He also confirmed that he had requested Coast Guard and Civil Defence volunteers to continue with targeted searches of coastal areas and monitoring of specific areas of interest.

Gerard O'Flynn from the Coast Guard thanked all the statutory and voluntary organisations for their unstinting support over the past four weeks, paying special thanks to Coast Guard, RNLI and Civil Defence volunteers and Defence Forces assets including naval divers, ships and Air Corps. He added that the operation highlighted the value of inter-agency cooperation in meeting challenges of this type.

The Coast Guard also wishes to remind all mariners to keep a good lookout for any material associated with Rescue 116 and to report any findings to Malin Head Coast Guard Coordination Centre.

AGS, AAIU and IRCG reiterated their sympathy to the families of Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith and expressed the hope that with the extensive monitoring both at sea and on shore that the remains of Paul and Ciaran would be found.

Published in Coastguard

Remote Operations Vehicle (ROV) operations, conducted by Marine Institute specialists on-board the Granuaile in conjunction with An Garda Síochána and the Air Accident Investigation Unit continued overnight and are ongoing. Wind has freshened overnight, which may constrain certain elements of the proposed search until Sunday, but conditions remain favourable for time being. Air, surface and shoreline searches are ongoing today, supported by Coast Guard, RNLI and Civil Defence volunteers. The Shannon based Coast Guard helicopter will conduct aerial searches later today. The Air Corps are also supporting the search.

Also the Coast Guard wishes to request all mariners, particularly those not participating on Saturday 8th April, to continue to keep a good lookout for any material associated with R116 and report any sightings to Malin Head Coast Guard Co-ordination Centre.

Published in Coastguard

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s new Head of Maritime Operations, Julie-Anne Wood, has made history by becoming the first woman to achieve this rank in the history of Her Majesty’s Coastguard.

The role of Head of Maritime Operations heads up the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham and the 10 Coastguard Operations Centres that co-ordinate search and rescue around the UK coast. It is one of the most senior roles in HM Coastguard, part of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, and up until now, the role has always been held by a man.

Julie-Anne Wood began her Coastguard career in the Welsh coastal town of Milford Haven in 1999 as a part-time Coastguard Watch Assistant. Before that, she ran her own business providing safety training to fishermen and merchant seamen in Wales. An opportunity for a permanent Coastguard Watch Assistant came up and in Julie-Anne’s words, she ‘never looked back’.

Over the next nine years, Julie-Anne progressed through the ranks to Watch Officer, Watch Manager and then Rescue Co-ordination Centre Manager in 2008. In 2011, her career changed direction, where she fulfilled her long-term goal to become a Coastguard Technical Trainer within the HR team. In 2013, she became head of Technical Training and Standards and in 2014 she temporarily covered the role of Head of Maritime Operations. In January 2017, she was appointed to the position permanently.

Julie-Anne says she didn’t set out to make HM Coastguard history. It was just a natural advancement of her career. ‘It’s a huge responsibility and a position that I’m very honoured to hold. What may have once been a male-dominated industry is very different these days. The Maritime & Coastguard Agency has incorporated women in everything they do. In my experience, there have been no restrictions. I have never allowed my gender to get in the way of my career – that’s one of the great things about HM Coastguard – the only limits on women are those that are imposed by themselves.

‘I am fortunate to be surrounded by an extraordinary team of strong women and men who are driven, talented and deliver an incredible service 24 hours a day.'

Despite her success, Julie-Anne has said that her proudest moments are still engrained in bringing people home to their families. ‘Every rescue is different, but the feeling you get when we’ve rescued someone in their darkest hours still makes a huge impression on me emotionally. There is no better feeling than seeing families reunited and know that you’ve played a part in that.’

Published in Coastguard

The Chief Inspector of Air Accidents, Mr. Jurgen Whyte, in conjunction with the appointed Investigator-in-Charge, Mr. Paul Farrell, say there were 'no mechanical anomalies' identified during the initial analysis of data retrieved from the Coastguard Helicopter that crashed off the Mayo coast last month, killing all four crew.

The statement issued yesterday says: The AAIU is keenly aware of the loss and grief of the families, friends and colleagues of the crew of R116 and extends its condolences to all concerned. The AAIU continues to work with other agencies to locate and recover the two missing crew members.

The AAIU is mindful that Sikorsky S-92A helicopters are in operation around the world in a variety of roles, including Search and Rescue. Following an event such as this, many operators and agencies are anxious to learn if any matters are identified during the ongoing investigation that may require immediate safety actions.

The Investigation is still at a preliminary stage. However, an initial analysis has been conducted of the data retrieved from the helicopter’s Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) and the Multi-Purpose Flight Recorder (MPFR). No mechanical anomalies have been identified during this initial analysis.

The AAIU Investigation is ongoing and a Preliminary Report will be issued in the near future.

Published in Coastguard
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