RNLI Larne volunteers rescue swimmer off County Antrim coast
The Larne RNLI volunteer team came to the aid of a swimmer who got into difficulty half a mile from Portmuck Harbour this afternoon (Wednesday 4 October).
The crew were requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch both their all-weather and inshore lifeboats before 12.30pm following a 999 call from a member of the public who raised the alarm after they observed two swimmers who they thought were not making any progress against a strong offshore wind.
At the time that the all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Barry Kirkpatrick and the inshore lifeboat helmed by Chris Dorman launched, there was a force 4-5 south westerly wind blowing.
Arriving on scene first, the all-weather lifeboat crew quickly located a casualty around half a mile from the harbour and brought him onboard the lifeboat. He was cold but otherwise safe and well and in good spirits.
The second swimmer had managed to make his way safely back to shore unaided. The inshore lifeboat crew checked he too was safe and well before taking the other swimmer onboard and bringing them ashore and into the care of the Portmuck Coastguard team.
Speaking following the call out, Phil Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, said:
"We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm today when they spotted what they thought was two swimmers in difficulty, that is always the right thing to do. We would also like to commend the swimmers who had swim floats with them.
"We would remind anyone planning an activity at sea to always go prepared. Check weather and tide times before venturing out, let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back, carry a means of communication such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112, and ask for the Coastguard."