Portaferry RNLI Launch To The Aid Of Capsized Sailors On Strangford Lough

Volunteer lifeboat crew at Portaferry RNLI were called out on Monday 11 August to a major incident on Strangford Lough.

[caption id="attachment_49378" align="alignright" width="380"]The Portaferry RNLI lifeboat assisted in the rescue of stricken yachters in the international event in Strangford Lough. The Portaferry RNLI lifeboat assisted in the rescue of stricken yachters in the international GP14 event in Strangford Lough.[/caption]

The world championship sailing event, which has attracted competitors from around the world, was being held at the East Down Yacht Club near Killyleagh County Down. Some 88 GP14 class boats, each with two crew members, were on the water when they were hit by a freak weather event with very heavy rain and strong winds which caused about 10 of the boats to capsize. Prior to this the weather at the time had been sunny with good visibility and force three to four north westerly winds. Portaferry RNLI received a request from the coastguard to launch at 1.54pm and were on the scene by 2.05pm as part of a multi-service response which also included two rescue helicopters and the RNLI all weather lifeboat from Newcastle, County Down. On arrival, the Portaferry RNLI volunteer crew assessed the condition of seven people, six male and one female, who had been taken out of the water by one of the event rescue boats, before returning them to shore at the East Down Yacht Club jetty. Speaking on behalf of the Portaferry RNLI, Brian Bailie the Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Thankfully everyone has now been accounted for and those who needed treatment have been taken to hospital. Thanks to the dedication and quick response of the lifeboat volunteer crew, what could potentially have been a much more serious incident was averted.

“Strangford Lough is an extremely popular location for sailors from all parts of the world and that is one of the reasons our volunteers give freely of their time and train for incidents such as today.”