Over 200 interventions in 2016

Volunteers from Foyle Search and Rescue patrolling along the river at night. (Photo courtesy of FS&R)
Volunteers from Foyle Search and Rescue patrolling along the river at night. (Photo courtesy of FS&R)

Foyle Search and Rescue volunteers have dealt with more than 200 emergencies and incidents since the start of 2016, it has been revealed.

The overall number of incidents attended by the local charity’s teams over the 11 months to the end of November 2016 - 208 in total- is around 25 per cent higher that the figure for the whole of 2015 (154 incidents).

A total of 18 people were rescued after entering the River Foyle in the period up to December 1st this year.

At least two more people have been pulled alive from the river since then.

One of the women had to be resuscitated, while another was treated afterwards for cold water shock. The separate incidents occurred during the same night.

The latest figures show a rise in the number of people having entered the Foyle over the past year when compared to 2015.

Over the past 11 months, a further 71 people were taken from the river’s edge by Foyle Search and Rescue volunteers, including people who were in the process of entering the river. Tragically, one body was recovered from the river during 2016.

In addition, 118 people found in a distressed state in situations deemed a cause for concern were approached by the charity’s teams - up around 40 per cent on last year.

A spokesman for Foyle Search and Rescue said: “It’s been quite a busy year.”

He added that FS&R duty teams will be operating up to and including Christmas Eve while the Emergency Response pager teams will be on standby 24/7 throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

The spokesman added that it has shared a list of telephone numbers for anyone in distress on the Foyle Search and rescue Facebook page.

He also advised that, in the event of an emergency, people should ring 999 and Foyle Search & Rescue will be notified.

Foyle Search and Rescue was set up in 1993 in response to concerns over the number of lives lost in the River Foyle.