A major rescue operation was launched on Friday evening, 2 September, after HM Coastguard in in Belfast received a 999 call reporting a man had capsized from his kayak and was no longer able to be seen, in Browns Bay, County Antrim.
Members of public said they heard calls for help in the bay.
The alarm was raised at 8.37pm, with Coastguard Rescue Teams from Portmuck, Larne and Ballycastle being tasked, as well as Rescue Helicopters 199 and 116. Both Lifeboats from Larne RNLI were requested.
A Mayday relay was broadcast to shipping in the area to make them aware of the person in difficulty.
A spokesperson for Belfast Coastguard said:
“Around 60 minutes into the incident, Coastguard Rescue Officers heard cries for help, and guided the lifeboat into the area.
“Larne Inshore Lifeboat quickly located the man and rescued him to the shore where he was treated by coastguard, lifeboat, helicopter paramedics and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, before being transported to hospital.
“This man was not wearing a lifejacket. He is incredibly lucky.”
HM Coastguard Larne was one of the teams tasked to the scene. A spokesperson for the volunteer team said:
“Working closely together along with locals who also helped pin point the casualty in the water, Coastguard teams directed RNLI lifeboat crews to the casualties location everyone worked together to achieve one outcome, to save a life and bring the casualty home.
“When recovered the casualty was found to be NOT wearing a life jacket but was found to be in the ‘float-to-live position’ which gave emergency services time to locate the casualty.
“Well done to everyone involved as each and every person worked hard to achieve the outcome of saving a life. We wish the casualty a speedy recovery.
“Always remember if entering the water wear suitable clothing-wetsuit, life jacket, whistle, a fully charged phone in a waterproof phone pouch and tell someone where you are or have them keep a watch of you.
“As always your coastguard teams and RNLI crews are always on standby 24/7 365 days for when you need us. Emergency on or near the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”