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‘Disaster averted’ as 2 paddle boarders rescued in high winds near Ballintoy

Photo: McAuley Multimedia

A full-scale rescue operation took place this afternoon (Sunday 10 October 2021) after two paddle-boarders found themselves stranded in high winds in the area of Sheep Island, near Ballintoy, County Antrim.

The alarm was raised around 3.30pm.

The multi-agency rescue response included Coastguard teams from Ballycastle and Coleraine, RNLI Lifeboat crews from Pothrush and Redbay, and air support from both PSNI Police46 and the Coastguard Rescue helicopters.

The two paddle-boarders were quickly located and winched to safety by the Coastguard helicopter.

Above: Photos of the operation captured by PSNI Air Support

A spokesperson for PSNI Air Support (Police46) commented:

“We were tasked by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency earlier to assist the search for 2 paddle boarders who were in distress off Ballintoy.

“Police46 responded. Portrush RNLI located them and they were winched to the safety of dry land by the Coastguard helicopter, Rescue 199.”

Photo: McAuley Multimedia

A spokesperson for RNLI Redbay said:

“Both Red Bay Lifeboats were requested to launch this afternoon at 3.24pm to reports of paddle boarders in difficulty off Ballintoy. Portrush RNLI Lifeboat was also requested to launch along with a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Scotland.

“The paddle-boarders had been swept out to sea and eventually were able to get onto Sheep Island.

“Due to the large swell in the area, the two casualties were successfully recovered by the helicopter crew from the rocks and landed into the care of local Coastguard teams at Ballintoy.

“Both Lifeboats returned to Cushendall at 5.25pm”.

Local Sinn Fein Councillor Cara McShane praised the response of the emergency services:

“A disaster was averted this afternoon with the quick response of emergency services. I would like to praise the response of the blue light services.

Photo: RNLI Redbay

“Today the sea was in ‘mountains’ - we’re in the middle of October. This was a huge rescue operation and thankfully those people were saved.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of those who risked their own lives to ensure that a disaster was averted this afternoon at Ballintoy.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Cara McShane

The local councillor also urged caution to those taking to the waters:

“I would use this incident as a reminder to people to be cautious of the sea,” she said.

“We need to be cautious all year round but we are now moving into the winter. The sea is unforgiving.”

Photo: McAuley Multimedia


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