Larne RNLI’s volunteers were requested to launch on Friday (2 September) evening to reports of a kayaker in the water in Brown’s Bay at Islandmagee.
The volunteer crew launched both of their lifeboats at 8.53pm at the request of Belfast Coastguard into slight seas, then made their way to the casualties last given location at Brown’s Bay.
Upon reaching the location, both lifeboats conducted a thorough search of the area, using white flares to help illuminate the searching area.
Portmuck Coastguard, along with some members of the public had heard someone shouting for help in the bay and so the smaller inshore lifeboat,Terry, asked to be pointed in the direction of the shouting.
Heading towards the area indicated, the lifeboat found the casualty in the middle of the bay floating on his back. By this stage it was estimated that he had been in the water for up to one hour and was very cold.
The volunteer crew members recovered the casualty into the lifeboat and made their way back to the beach as quickly as possible whilst beginning first aid to try and warm the casualty back up. They were concerned about signs of hypothermia.
Upon reaching the beach, the lifeboat crew were met by members of the Portmuck and Larne mobile Coastguard team who provided blankets and assistance.
Due to the severity of the casualties condition the Rescue 116 helicopter was requested, arriving on scene to allow a paramedic to evaluate the casualties condition, whilst awaiting the arrival of the Northern Ireland ambulance service.
The casualty was kept warm and dry until the ambulance service arrived, where the casualty was transferred into the ambulance and taken to hospital.
Larne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helm, Barry Kirkpatrick said:
“The casualties’ wife did the right thing by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard when she realised, he was in difficulty in the water. The casualty also did the right thing by floating on his back with his arms stretched out. He was floating to live.’
“All of the emergency services worked together so well to achieve a positive outcome. It was great teamwork from everyone involved.”
The RNLI’s advice if you find yourself in trouble in the water is to Float to Live – lean back spreading your arms and legs like a starfish to stay afloat, control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.
For further information, please visit: RNLI.org/FloatUK2022