THE volunteer crew of Donaghadee’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution Lifeboat rescued two people and their dogs after the party got into difficulties during a family kayaking trip on Saturday afternoon. (July 4)
Belfast Coastguard requested an immediate launch after reports an adult and three teenagers were in need of assistance at Burr Point near Ballyhalbert. It is understood they were exhausted and struggling to reach the shore against a strong ebb tide and fresh offshore wind.
The Saxon was underway at its top speed of 25 knots by 2.36pm and reached the scene in less than half an hour.
The crew brought two people, two dogs and three kayaks aboard. Portaferry Coastguard team confirmed two other casualties reached shore without assistance and were uninjured. All of the boating party, including the dogs, were wearing buoyancy aids.
Aboard the Saxon the rescued party, including their pets, were treated for the effects of the cold. The Lifeboat brought them to Portavogie harbour where they were met by family members. The Lifeboat was back on station in Donaghadee by 6.15pm.
Mother Judith Rose later posted her thanks on social media site Facebook: “I’m feeling very thankful and emotionally drained at the same time. My daughter Chloe and her cousins got into difficulties when caught by the current. Waiting to hear they were safe was the longest wait of my life. Everybody was safe but tired and sore.
“If ever you see people collecting for the RNLI please give something. They are totally dependent on donations and this is such an essential emergency service. Thank you to everyone involved.”
RNLI Donaghadee’s Coxswain Philip McNamara said: “This was a potentially dangerous situation and a reminder that conditions at sea can change very quickly for those in small craft. Calling for help at the earliest opportunity is the right thing to do and can make the difference between tragedy and a successful operation for the RNLI. We train every week for rescue operations like this one and are only too glad to be of assistance when it really matters.”