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Nightfall Rescue Difficulties Prompt Call For Kayakers To Carry Means Of Attracting Attention

5th October 2020
The two kayakers were found after dark in the Bristol Channel by Minehead RNLI and HM Coastguard The two kayakers were found after dark in the Bristol Channel by Minehead RNLI and HM Coastguard Photo: RNLI/Minehead

Kayakers have been urged to always carry some means of attracting attention in an emergency, such as flares or a torch.

The call from the RNLI came after an incident off Somerset in the UK last month in which two kayakers were swept out into the Bristol Channel by strong currents in choppy waters.

Lifeboat volunteers from Minehead RNLI, joined by a rescue helicopter from HM Coastguard, had difficulty determining the kayakers’ location as darkness fell fast on the evening of Wednesday 2 September.

“Even when the helicopter found them and illuminated the area we couldn’t see them until we were about 30 yards away,” said lifeboat helm Phil Sanderson.

The two casualties, clad in T-shirts, were found cold but unharmed by their ordeal amid “nasty” conditions.

Minehead RNLI’s Chris Rundle added: “We would stress the importance of kayakers preparing for all eventualities by wearing proper clothing and buoyancy aids.

“And above all they should always carry some means of attracting attention, such as a flare pack or a good waterproof torch.

“It’s only a small investment but one which could make all the difference between life and death.”

MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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