RNLI volunteers aboard Donaghadee’s All-Weather Lifeboat, Saxon, launched the £2 million vessel last night (Sep 29) to search for a family’s pet dog which was reported to have been cut off by the tide at Millisle.
Coxswain Philip McNamara and his crew took the decision to launch after a request from the Coastguard at 9.30pm and were on the water within 10 minutes. When they reached the area the crew launched a smaller inflatable craft, designed for inshore work, and conducted a search of the shoreline in darkness.
“We could find no trace of the dog and hope that it reached safety,” said Philip.
“There is always the possibility that someone will enter the water to save a family pet and that means there is a risk of them drowning. The RNLI is here to save lives at sea no matter what the circumstances might be,” he added.
The launch came just a day after the Donaghadee crew spent eight hours afloat as part of a major search operation for missing kayaker Robert Hanna. The RNLI volunteers patrolled the Co Down coast until 3.00am on Tuesday morning in an effort to locate the man, aged 47, from Carrickfergus. He entered the water at Islandmagee on Monday afternoon.
At its peak the search operation also involved lifeboats from the Co Antrim and Scottish coasts and rescue helicopters from the Irish Republic. It was called off after 24 hours when no trace of the missing man could be found.