#foylerescue – A group of canoeiests are safe after capsizing on the river Foyle this afternoon and sparking a major resuce operation. At 2.05pm Belfast Coastguard was alerted by Police Service Northern Ireland, (PSNI) to an incident in the River Foyle involving two large capsized canoes with 26 people in the water.
Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Team was sent to the area and the Coastguard requested lifeboats from Foyle Search & Rescue, the Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter and Irish Coastguard boat from Greencastle. Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service also joined the search and rescue operation.
Lifeboats recovered 26 adults from the water and 12 people were transferred to hospital by helicopter and also by Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to be checked for hypothermia.
The group of 26 adults had got into difficulty after their two large canoes capsized.
The canoeists were taking part in a fundraiser for the YMCA. All 26 are now at Altnagelvin hospital with mild hypothermia, it has been reported.
The Coastguard recommends:
Safety Advice for Sea canoeing / kayaking: Ensure that someone at home knows your passage plan including points of arrival and departure, timescale, number in group and other relevant information. Check weather forecasts and tidal conditions and ensure that your skill levels are appropriate for where you are kayaking. Wear a buoyancy aid and check that equipment is functioning properly, that your distress flares are in date and are stowed where you can reach them. Carriage of a 406 Personal Locator Beacon is highly recommended for more remote locations.
Carry a VHF marine band radio (fitted with DSC if possible) and learn how to use it. Where there is good network coverage then it is worth carrying a mobile phone in a waterproof bag. Call the Coastguard if you get into difficulty, preferably via channel 16 on your radio or if not by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard.