Aberdeen’s all-weather lifeboat was called for a medevac from an oilfield platform supply vessel (PSV) at anchor in Aberdeen Bay on Friday evening (3 January).
The casualty complained of chest pain and numbness in one side of his body – symptoms typically associated with heart attack — and the lifeboat launched immediately, navigating through an unusually busy bay anchorage.
Coxswain Michael Cowlam said: “Conditions were excellent — perfect visibility and a gentle swell from the gentle offshore breeze. The challenge was finding the right vessel in the densely crowded anchorage. None of us had ever seen it so busy.”
Once the casualty’s vessel had been located, however, he was swiftly returned to shore and the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Less than 24 hours previously, Aberdeen’s D-class inshore lifeboat and the all-weather vessel’s Y-boat were launched to assist in a river bank search of the River Dee after concerns were raised for the safety of an elderly man missing in the area.
The crews searched extensively but were stood down when, happily, a member of the public found the missing man in the city centre.
Lifeboat operations manager Bill Deans later commented: “For all three of Aberdeen’s lifeboats to be called out on service in the first three days of a New Year is exceptional. I can’t remember a start to the year like it in my 40-plus years’ service at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station.”
Elsewhere, in Oban, the lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald was launched twice to two separate incidents between Friday and Saturday (3 & 4 January).
The first call came at 7.26pm on Friday following reports of a red flare sighting in Loch Melfort. A thorough search was conducted by the lifeboat, Oban’s coastguard team and HM Coastguard’s rescue helicopter but with nothing found, the search was stood down.
Just hours later, shortly before 10am on Saturday morning, the volunteers were called again, this time to a yacht that had broken its morning in Connel Bay and run aground.
Given the nature of the tides in the area, near the Falls of Lora, the decision was made to refloat the vessel, which has no persons on board at the time, and secure it to a nearby morning.