Newcastle RNLI assists group of sailors in difficulty after their dinghies met challenging sea conditions.
Newcastle RNLI came to the aid of a group of sailors yesterday afternoon (Sunday 23 May) after two vessels got into difficulty off the South Promenade.
The inshore D class lifeboat was requested to launch shortly after 3pm yesterday following a report from Belfast Coastguard that five people were in the water.
The lifeboat, helmed by Declan Barry and with three volunteer crew members onboard, launched immediately and made its way the short distance to the scene. Newcastle Coastguard was also tasked along with Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the PSNI.
Four laser dinghies and a rigiflex safety boat had been in the water prior to the incident. A challenging low tide swell resulted in one of the dinghies capsizing and suffering a broken mast. While the other three lasers had made it safely to shore, the crew of the rigiflex went to assist with the broken mast.
Whilst doing so, it was also capsized by a strong wave leaving three people in the water, but they too made it safely to shore by themselves. Four people then returned to the water to recover the two boats which had by then been carried into shallower water. The laser was successfully recovered but the group who were having difficulty with the much heavier rigiflex.
The lifeboat went as far as the water’s edge as the incident was close to the station’s slipway at Newcastle harbour. Due to the conditions, the helm remained with the lifeboat while the three other crew members waded towards the upturned boat.
With no-one in immediate danger, the lifeboat crew assisted by members of Newcastle Coastguard, went into the surf to assist in righting the boat which they did successfully.
Following the incident, six sailors were brought to Newcastle Lifeboat Station for assessment and treatment by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. No one was in need of any further medical attention.
Speaking following the call out, Newcastle RNLI Helmsman Declan Barry, said: ‘We were happy to see that everyone was safe and well and not in any immediate danger.
“Conditions at sea can change quickly and the surf was challenging yesterday so we were glad to be able to help in ensuring everyone got back to shore safely after the boats got into difficulty.
“There was a multi-agency response to the call out and we would like to commend our volunteers and colleagues in the other services for working well together.”