Displaying items by tag: Portrush
Portrush RNLI has rescued a teenage boy who got into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head yesterday afternoon.
The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 2.42 pm following an initial request to go to the aid of someone in distress off Downhill Beach which subsequently transpired to be a false alarm with good intent. However, once on board, the lifeboat crew were alerted by the Coastguard to a separate incident after a 999 call was made by a member of the public to say a person was in difficulty in the water off Portstewart Head, some five nautical miles from Portrush.
The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Des Austin and with six crew members onboard and made its way to the scene arriving in less than 10 minutes.
Weather conditions at the time were challenging with a Force 6-7 north to northwest wind, some showers, and a rough sea with 2-3m swells. Visibility was good.
As the lifeboat approached the scene, the crew observed a person in the water waving their arms. A teenage boy who was wearing a wetsuit was struggling against an ebbing tide which was pulling him away from the land and out to sea off the west side of Portstewart Head.
The Coxswain manoeuvred the lifeboat close to where the casualty was in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic donned a dry suit and PPE. A line was then attached to the mechanic who jumped into the water and grabbed the casualty to safety. The remainder of the crew pulled the mechanic and casualty around to the starboard side of the lifeboat as the Coxswain manoeuvred into position.
The lifeboat crew administered casualty care to make the boy who was showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and was suffering from the effects of shock, comfortable, as the lifeboat made its way back to Portrush Harbour. He was then transferred into the care of Coleraine Coastguard and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
Speaking following the call out, Portrush RNLI Coxswain Des Austin said: ‘Conditions were challenging at sea today and time was of the essence. The tide was turning at the time the casualty got into difficulty and the conditions were pulling him out to sea.
The prompt actions of the lifeboat crew saved a life and we would like to wish the casualty well following his ordeal.
‘We would remind anyone planning an activity at sea to always respect the water. Always be prepared, always have the right clothing and safety equipment including a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. Conditions at sea can change quickly and it is important to understand how that affects the area of coastline.
Should you get into difficulty or see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’
Local lifeguards raised the alarm for the two adults and three young children who were trapped between Castlerock and Downhill beaches on Northern Ireland’s North Coast, and the inshore lifeboat set off to their rescue just after 5pm.
The lifeboat crew found the family some 10 feet up a cliff, close to the railway line — prompting the decision to evacuate them carefully down the cliff to shore.
Forming a human chain, the RNLI crew and a lifeguard were able to take all five family members down to the lifeboat and then onwards to the safety of the beach.
Commenting after the callout, lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said: “This has been a very busy summer for both our volunteer lifeboat crew and the lifeguards on all our beaches in the area, and this is another example how we have worked very closely together to carry out a successful rescue.
“Of course, we have had the additional issue of having to wear PPE for the protection of the public and the crew, but it is something we are becoming used to wearing.
“The RNLI lifeguards and our crew worked well today in this joint rescue and the hope the family are recovering from their ordeal.”
The divers were part of an organised party with a diving school, and the dive leader immediately raised the alarm with the coastguard as a precaution.
But as the lifeboat headed to Rathlin, the crew were informed that the divers had been found and recovered by the dive boat.
Portrush RNLI was asked to standby at Ballycastle in case a medical evacuation was required.
However, the dive company had a doctor on board, and the divers were assessed as being fit and handed over to the NI Ambulance Service to be taken to hospital as a precaution.
Lifeboat press officer Judy Nelson said: “This has been one of our busiest seasons as people are choosing to holiday at home and try sea-based activities that they may not have done before.
“We would advise the public to book these activities with an experienced group, who on this occasion observed all safety precautions and raised the alarm immediately, thus preventing an untoward event.”
Portrush RNLI previously launched the all-weather lifeboat just before 1am on Sunday morning to several reports of a distress flare in the Portstewart Strand area.
After a thorough search of the vicinity with nothing found, the multi-agency response — including the PSNI and HM Coastguard — was stood down and the lifeboat returned to station by 3.30am.
This was also Portrush RNLI crew member Dave Robinson’s first shout as coxswain since passing RNLI assessments two weeks ago.
Deputy launching authority Carl Kennedy said: “As the RNLI will always respond to reports of a distress flare being spotted, we would ask members of the public to take care when launching any kind of light, firework, flare or Chinese lantern during the night as these can be seen as distress flares and reported as an emergency call.
“This can entail, as it did tonight, huge resources being deployed by emergency services to ensure that there was no-one in danger.
“Tonight this was a false alarm with good intent with no one in danger.”
The casualty had sustained a knee injury and was being treated at the scene in Smuggler’s Cove on Northern Ireland’s North Coast by NIAS paramedics.
The challenging terrain made extraction difficult and complex.
First the man was moved by rope rescue stretcher over very uneven and slippery boulders to the water’s edge, then transferred into coastguard water rescue stretcher, then onto the inshore lifeboat.
From there to the all-weather lifeboat for transfer to a waiting ambulance at Portrush Harbour.
Coleraine Coastguard said: “This was a highly challenging rescue due to the location, but another great example of inter-agency teamwork brought it to a successful ending.”
Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched to the rescue of a 50-year-old woman who fell into the water while with a coasteering group at Dunseverick near the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland yesterday afternoon (Saturday 1 August).
The volunteer crew applied casualty care to the woman, and one remained to watch over her while the lifeboat collected a paramedic and a member of the local coastguard team to assist at the scene.
Suspecting the woman had sustained a back injury, the team called for a helicopter and she was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast by the regional air ambulance. R199 from Prestwick in Scotland was also dispatched to the scene.
Portrush lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said later: “Causeway Coasteering did exactly the right thing in calling the RNLI and the coastguard to make sure that the casualty could receive appropriate treatment.”
The volunteer crew had launched at 3.40pm to reports of a 24ft angling boat in difficulty at the entrance to the Foyle Estuary.
Weather conditions at the time were near gale-force with winds gusting from the west, which made the rescue challenging.
On arriving at the scene, the lifeboat crew established a tow line with the fishing vessel at around 4.27pm and proceeded at a slow speed back to Portrush Harbour in Co Antrim where it arrived about an hour later.
In the extreme weather conditions, the lifeboat temporarily went aground while assisting the casualty vessel to reach the pontoon.
As a safety precaution, the all-weather lifeboat was taken off service to allow a full inspection take place today. Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat remains on service.
The volunteer lifeboat crew acknowledged the help given by local fisherman Richard Connor and the local coastguard team in assisting the lifeboat to get onto the pontoon.
Both the lifeboat crew and the crew of the angling boat were unharmed.
However, it’s understood that a member of the coastguard sustained a hand injury in helping at the scene. Portrush RNLI sends him their best wishes for a full recovery.
Both Portrush RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch by HM Coastguard yesterday afternoon (Saturday 20 June) to reports of person on an inflatable paddleboard in difficulty in the sea just off Portstewart on Northern Ireland’s North Coast.
The inshore lifeboat was launched at 1.23pm initially into a slight sea swell with an offshore wind and made their way to Portstewart, followed by the all-weather lifeboat 10 minutes later.
The inshore crew arrived on scene at 1.35pm and successfully recovered the casualty who was 200 metres from shore. The crew found that the casualty had been blown out to sea, had fallen off their board and been unable to get back on.
Both casualty and their board were swiftly returned to shore where they were handed over to the care of the coastguard and NI Ambulance Service who had been called as a precaution. The all-weather lifeboat was stood down.
Ivor Paul, deputy launching authority at Portrush RNLI, said: “We would urge people not to bring inflatables to the coast as it is so easy to get caught by the wind and within seconds you can suddenly be in danger. If in doubt talk, to the lifeguards and check out the RNLI and coastguard websites for guidance and advice.”
Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats were launched as a precaution due to the nature of the incident, after reports that the man had fallen at Port-Na-Happle just off the Convent Walk, a popular scenic coastal path in Portstewart.
Volunteer lifeboat crew member Dr Colm Watters, who is a consultant at Causeway Hospital’s emergency department, was transferred ashore to assist the local coastguard with the treatment of the casualty before he was passed into the care of the NI Ambulance Service.
Lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said later: “We had the opportunity to do some training with our coastguard colleagues last year and this has paid off in terms of our joint working procedures.
“We are fortunate to have a volunteer with Colm’s expertise on crew and this was invaluable in this incident. We wish the casualty well and hope he has a speedy recovery.”
Earlier in the day, Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety at lunchtime after their 12-metre vessel got into difficulties off the Wicklow coast.
The alarm was raised earlier in the morning after the fishing boat’s propeller got fouled in ropes near the Codling Buoy.
Crew of the all-weather lifeboat Jock & Annie Slater located the drifting fishing vessel 14 miles east of Wicklow Harbour and quickly established a tow. The boat was safely tied alongside the South Quay at 12:30pm.
Portrush RNLI has appointed a new Coxswain/Mechanic to replace the recently retired Anthony Chambers. Dave Robinson has been a popular volunteer crew member at the station for seven years and was successful at interview in February 2020.
Dave (aged 27) was recently employed with the Merchant Navy in the North Sea and is delighted to have a job with the RNLI which combines his love of the Lifeboat and being based permanently at home. His fiancée, Livvy is also delighted as the pair are getting married in May this year and have recently bought a house in Portrush.
Dave’s responsibilities will include looking after and maintaining the two Lifeboats at Portrush- The Severn and the D class, as well as making sure all PPE is in order and ensuring all equipment is fit for purpose. He will be a key member of the Operations Team, working closely with the Lifeboat Operations Manager, Deputy Launching Authorities and the other volunteer coxswains on station.
Dave said:- This is a dream come true for me as I have enjoyed working as a volunteer for so many years and learning from the best. Portrush Lifeboat Station is a wonderful station to be associated with and am looking forward to getting started’
Keith Gilmore, Lifeboat Operations Manager said:- I am very pleased with the appointment of David Robinson as Coxswain/Mechanic of Portrush Lifeboat. David has been a dedicated and effective volunteer crewmember for seven years. The experience that he has gained during that time, both on the lifeboat, and in the challenging conditions of the North Sea in the Merchant Navy, ensure that he has the total confidence of the crew in his suitability to take on this new role. Well done David!
Lifeboat teams from Portrush and farther afield gathered in the North Coast town on Friday (28 February) to bid farewell to one of their own, as mechanic/coxswain and crew member Anthony Chambers retires after more than 40 years.
The Chambers family have been linked to Portrush RNLI in Northern Ireland for generations. Anthony’s father Gilbert and brother Derek were both mechanics on the lifeboat before him, and Anthony’s two nephews, Jason and Karl, are following the family tradition of being volunteer crew and an integral part of the station.
But Friday night was all about Anthony — celebrating his career, his retirement, remembering great rescues and the difference he has made to so many people.
Anthony’s most memorable and heroic ‘shout’ was the rescue of two young boys from a cave in August 2009 against a rising tide.
Part of the account of the rescue said: “Anthony fought against the elements in almost total darkness, being smashed against the cave wall … rescuing the boys one by one. It took him 30 minutes to complete the difficult and treacherous return swim twice with the rising tide against him.”
As a result, Anthony was presented with a bronze medal for gallantry in May 2010 by HRH Prince Michael of Kent at the Barbican in London, and fellow crew members with him on that night were presented with a letter of thanks from the RNLI.
This was only one example of Anthony’s bravery and on Friday night, the lifeboat crew, fundraising team and friends gathered in Portrush Yacht Club to celebrate, present gifts and reminisce of rescues gone by.
It was a testament to Anthony’s popularity that Portrush Yacht Club was packed to capacity with ex-crew members and representatives from Lough Swilly, Red Bay, Larne, Ballyglass, Portpatrick and Donaghadee lifeboat stations.
It was an opportunity for Anthony’s family, his wife Maryna, son Alistair and stepdaughter Louise, to meet so many of his colleagues in the RNLI and hear of his many exploits.
The formal part of the evening was introduced by MC and fellow lifeboat crew member Tim Nelson. Volunteer coxswain Des Austin presented gifts on behalf of the crew and Keith Gilmore, lifeboat operations manager, presented a vellum and letter of thanks from Mark Dowie, chief executive of the RNLI.
John Martin from the fundraising team also presented gifts on behalf of the team. Shirley Austin, Des’s wife, presented Anthony’s wife Maryna with flowers on behalf of the crew.
Beni McAllister, honorary secretary of Portrush Yacht Club, presented Anthony with a life membership of the club in recognition of its close links with the lifeboat station.
Anthony took to the floor to thank everyone for the gifts and good wishes. He went on to wish the current crew well and also the new coxswain/mechanic Dave Robinson, who takes over the helm.