Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats
A member of the US Coast Guard and three of his relatives have been praised by the father of a young girl rescued after she was swept out to sea from a Dublin beach.
As The Irish Times reports, Walter Butler and his relations Eoghan Butler, Declan Butler and Alex Thomson leapt into action when they heard screams for help and saw the girl on a “pink floaty” off Portmarnock beach on Monday afternoon (22 July).
Butler remained on the beach ready to provide casualty care while the others swam out to the girl, who was swept some distance from shore and at one point was struggling to stay afloat after coming off her inflatable.
“We have all been swimming competitively since we were six or seven years old so to say we are good swimmers is an understatement,” said Butler — who noted that it still took half an hour for his relatives to reach the girl and swim her back to the beach, where paramedics and her relieved father were waiting.
The dangers of using inflatables at the seaside were highlighted again just hours later, when Larne RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 23 July) to a report of three people being carried out to sea on inflatable toys in Browns Bay.
At the scene, the volunteer crew found a small fishing vessel had already taken one casualty on board, and they look over to bring the remaining two onto the lifeboat.
RNLI volunteer helm Barry Kirkpatrick said: “We advise you not to use inflatables at the beach as offshore winds can easily sweep you off the shore in a very quick space of time.
“If you do get into difficulty or see anyone else in difficulty, please remember to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”
Belfast Coastguard has warned that a number of children have been blown out to sea on inflatable toys in recent days.
“Please remember the safest place for children to play with these death traps is in the back garden,” a spokesperson said.
The crew, who had just finished an exercise and had been stood down, launched the all-weather lifeboat in record time after the HM Coastguard request.
It was reported that three persons had already entered the water to assist the jetskier but had to return to shore to receive medical attention from the coastguard.
The lifeboat crew reached the jetskier at 8.35pm in smooth seas but with a strong offshore breeze which had hindered the three people attempting to assist.
After the jetski was secured alongside the lifeboat, the crew took the casualty on board, where he assessed and deemed to be medically fit.
It was then decided that the jetskier and his craft should be taken back to the beach, using the all-weather lifeboat’s smaller Y boat, to the waiting coastguard.
Des Austin, coxswain of Portrush RNLI, said after the callout: “The jetskier had no wetsuit on and even in a balmy summer evening the water is still very cold, so it was important that we reached him as soon as we could.
“There was also a strong off shore wind which made it difficult for the other swimmers to assist, so the members of the public did exacty the right thing by calling for help.
“It’s also key for us to make sure that the jetski is recovered also as it could pose a hazard if not taken out of commission.”
Much earlier in the day, Larne RNLI volunteers’ pagers sounded at 5am after reports that a 37ft yacht had broken its moorings at East Antrim Boat Club and run aground in Larne Lough, causing a potential hazard to the shipping lanes.
Both lifeboats were launched 10 minutes later in moderate seas on an overcast morning, and once on scene it was decided to place a crew member from the inshore lifeboat on the casualty vessel to secure a tow line.
Once brought into deeper water and assessed as being safe and undamaged, the yacht was then towed by the larger all-weather lifeboat to a spare mooring back at East Antrim Boat Club.
“It was an early start for our volunteers this morning and we had a good turnout of crew for the callout.” said Larne’s lifeboat operations manager Allan Dorman.
“This scenario is something that we practice during training and I was glad to see that everyone worked together for a successful outcome.”
With four volunteer crew aboard — helm Kieran Collins and crew members Micheal Cottrell, David Ryan and Ian Lynch — the lifeboat arrived on scene two minutes later to find the casualty in the water, swimming hard to keep clear of the rocks.
The casualty was brought aboard the lifeboat, along with his board, and once satisfied that he was unharmed, the crew took him back to the beach in Baltimore he had originally set out from.
While the inshore lifeboat crew were dealing with their casualty on the shoreline, instructors from Baltimore Sailing Club went to the assistance of another windsurfer who was in difficulty in the middle of the harbour and brought them safely to shore.
Weather conditions at the time of the call were blustery with a south-westerly Force 5 wind and sloppy sea.
Speaking following the callout, Baltimore lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “This was a particularly fast response as the inshore lifeboat was on scene with the casualty within seven minutes of the lifeboat pagers going off.
“Thankfully a member of the public had spotted the danger that the windsurfer was in and did the correct thing in alerting the coastguard.
“If you see anyone that you think is in difficulty on the water or along the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”
Several members of the public had reported seeing the man in difficulty and raised the alarm.
The lifeboat launched immediately and on arrival at the scene observed that a local fisherman was assisting the casualty by keeping him afloat from his 5.5m boat with the aid of a boat hook.
The crew proceeded to take the man out of the water and assess his condition before administering casualty care.
A local doctor was also present at the scene and assisted the casualty until the ambulance arrived minutes later. He was subsequently transferred to St Vincent’s Hospital for further treatment.
Commenting after the callout, Dun Laoghaire RNLI helm Gary Hayes said: “This was a tremendous effort from all involved. We would like to extend our praise to the members of the public who alerted the emergency services as quickly as they did.
“We also want to thank the local fisherman for his help in this rescue and for his efforts to saving a life.”
Locals and visitors will have a change to celebrate the lifesaving work of Dun Laoghaire’s RNLI volunteers at the lifeboat station’s open day from 1pm this Sunday 21 July.
The station at Carlisle Pier will host tours of the all-weather lifeboat Anna Livia, while the inshore lifeboat Realt Na Mara will be on display at the old boathouse beside Rogan’s Slipway on the East Pier.
Souvenirs in support of the charitable work of the RNLI will be on sale in the station shop throughout the afternoon.
And special guests will be visiting the RNLI station during the afternoon, including Stormy Sam and the Dalkey Ukulele Klub.
Stephen Wynne, Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome everyone to inspect the lifeboats and meet the volunteer crew members and get an insight to what they do!”
Shortly after 3pm, the Irish Coast Guard tasked the north Co Dublin lifeboat station to investigate reports of a person waving for help on Shenick Island off Skerries.
The volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and rounded the headland at Red Island before proceeding to Shenick, where they found that lifeguards from the South Beach had reached the island in their dinghy and were checking on the woman and children’s wellbeing.
The three had walked to the island and had been cut off by the rising tide. They mentioned that they were beginning to feel cold so the crew transferred them to the lifeboat and returned to the station to warm up before a volunteer crew member drove them home.
Speaking about the callout, volunteer press officer Gerry Canning said: “It can be tempting to walk out to Shenick Island when the tide is low enough. However, the window for the tide is quite short and the island is bigger than it looks.
“We’d remind anyone walking along the coast to check the tide times and be aware of the risk of getting cut off. Always tell someone where you are going and ensure you have a means of contacting the shore.”
Donaghadee RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew put to sea on Wednesday night (3 July) to rescue three adults and two children who had become stranded on the Copeland Islands following problems with their jetski.
The group had gone to the Co Down islands while the sun was still out but were stranded in the early evening when their jetski began to have mechanical issues.
They used a mobile phone to try and contact both Donaghadee and Bangor lifeboat stations before contacting a crew member on their mobile phone.
Paged at 7pm, the volunteers and made good speed in calm conditions in the RNLI Trent class lifeboat Saxon to Chapel Bay on the Big Copeland Island.
The lifeboat’s smaller XP boat, an inflatable tender carried by Saxon, was launched to go to the shore and bring the casualties to the warmth and safety of the larger lifeboat.
A towline was secured by the volunteer crew and the lifeboat returned to Donaghadee Harbour where the casualties were passed to the care of the coastguard.
Speaking following the callout, Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara said: “I feel we got to the casualties just on time, they were starting to feel the cold after spending quite sometime in the sunshine. They didn’t have any water to hydrate or clothing to keep them warm.”
In other news, Donaghadee’s crew joined tributes to an American couple with strong Northern Ireland roots for a generous $74,000 donation which will help the RNLI to continue saving lives at sea.
The late John Bradley, who grew up and worked in Co Tyrone, and his wife Sally Sue, who he met as a pen pal, donated $37,000 each to Bangor and Donaghadee lifeboat stations, while Tower Lifeboat Station, based next to Waterloo bridge in East London received $5,000.
John, who died on 1 July aged 81, leaves a lasting legacy to the RNLI, with the Bradleys’ donation to be used for vital volunteer crew kit and training.
Peter Irwin, Donaghadee RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “We are so grateful and would like to sincerely thank Sally Sue and John, and remember John for his amazing support of the RNLI. We are saddened to hear of John’s death and extend our sympathies to Sally Sue and the Bradley family.”
It was reported that as the yacht’s crew were adjusting a sail, a piece of rigging had parted and seriously injured the skipper’s hand.
He was subsequently winched to the helicopter and flown to Waterford University Hospital for further treatment.
Arriving on scene at 10.47am in misty and foggy conditions with an easterly Force 3-4 wind, the volunteer crew made a quick assessment of the situation, and launched the smaller Y-class lifeboat to try to free the yacht from the pot buoy while the all-weather lifeboat established a tow.
The pot line was cleared within a few minutes, and after the RNLI crew assessed that all was fine with the vessel, the tow was disconnected and the yacht continued on its journey to Bere Island.
The station received the shout at 7.27am and the lifeboat David Kirkaldy launched under coxswain Tommy Dirrane with a full crew, heading straight for the 38ft yacht that had got tangled in lobster pots in the North Sound.
Conditions on the water were choppy with moderate seas and a 1.5m swell, and an east to north-easterly wind.
Once on scene, the lifeboat crew established contact with the two people aboard the yacht, and found that a local fisherman in the area had freed the vessel from the tangled lobster pots.
The lifeboat then escorted the yacht, which was under sail, as far as the mouth of Kilronan Harbour, where a tow line was established due to steering issues to guide the yacht alongside the pier.
Speaking after the callout, Dirrane said: “Thankfully, this was a good outcome to what could have been a different situation and we would like to commend the local fisherman who also helped.
“As we enjoy the good weather and the summer months ahead, we would like to remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water.”
Elsewhere, Carrybridge RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat yesterday afternoon to aid a vessel with five on board that had run around around a mile north-west of the Share Discovery Village on Upper Lough Erne.
All on board were found safe and well, and wearing lifejackets. Their vessel was not taking on water, so a tow line was set up to refloat it in deeper water.
After checks for damage gave the all-clear, the vessel was allowed to continue its journey.
Lifeboat operations manager Stephen Scott added: “We would remind all users that before going afloat they should always carry a means of communication and to plan their voyage using relevant charts.
“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”
The inshore lifeboat (ILB) crew who were already at the station to undergo assessments launched immediately, and arrived on scene at 6.15pm to discover that there were actually two people in the water.
The second person had entered the water to try to rescue the first swimmer, but was unable to get him back to shore because of the strong tidal stream.
However, the second person was able to keep the first above water until the volunteer crew arrived.
The ILB crew got the two casualties into the lifeboat and transported them back to Portballintrae, where the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was waiting along with the Air Ambulance NLI. RNLI lifeguards were also in attendance, along with the coastguard.
Keith Gilmore, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush, said: “The swimmer was very lucky that there was someone on scene to assist while the inshore lifeboat launched and arrived on scene.”
He added: “This is the classic scenario that we train for each week, and the crew are very skilled and highly trained for this type of rescue. We would like to wish the two casualties a speedy recovery.”
The condition of the two casualties is unknown at this time.