Major Incident As Squall Hits International Boating Event In Strangford Lough

Around 100 participants took part in the international GP 14 dingy event in Strangford Lough near the East Down Yacht Club, when a sudden squall arose and capsized many dingies throwing the yachters into the cold water.

dn_screenA major incident has now been been declared and many of  the eighty dingies some with children aboard were capsized.

The Belfast Coastguard said everyone has been rescued as the Portaferry and Newcastle lifeboats were quickly on the scene rescuing many from the water. However, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter and a helicopter from RAF Valley were at the scene with lifeboats and other vessels continuing with searches to ensure everyone is safe.

At the scene ambulance crews treated the injured, many were suffering from hypothermia. The ambulance crews set up tents at the scene.

The most up-to-date report form the South Eastern HSC Trust said: “The latest update on sailing incident at Killyleagh is that there were 97 in water, 67 have been rescued. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service have set up tents at the scene. At present one person was injured. We are awaiting further casualties.”

Down News will up-date if there is any more breaking news.

16.10 hrs:

Down District Council Chairman Cllr Billy Walker said: “I would like to pay tribute to the rescue services for their speedy action in saving lives. This was a genuine emergency and we are thankful that no-one has been seriously injured or killed. A number received knocks to their faces as the masts etc struck them but overall it is a miracle there appears to be no serious injuries.”

16.30 hrs:

The South Eastern HSC Trust has confirmed that six people are now at the Ulster Hospital, with minor injuries, one with a head injury.