Quick response was ‘key’ to kayaker rescue

The kayakers were paddling to Kinnego Bay.
The kayakers were paddling to Kinnego Bay.

A prompt call for help and the swift actions of the coast guard were “key” in ensuring a positive outcome for kayakers rescued in waters near Kinnego Bay.

Eight kayakers from ‘Foyle Paddlers,’ which is based in Derry, had initially left Shrove in Inishowen at midday on Sunday and informed Malin Head Coast Guard they were to paddle to Kinnego Bay.

Neil Canning, watch officer with Malin Head Coastguard told the ‘Journal’ they received a ‘mayday’ call from a member of the group at 2.10pm, advising that two of their kayakers were in the water.

Greencastle Coast Guard and the Sligo 118 helicopter were tasked to the scene.

Charlie Cavanagh, officer-in-charge, Greencastle Coast Guard said that when they arrived, the two kayakers, who had got into difficulty when their kayaks capsized due to “sea conditions,” were still in the water. Two other kayakers had also stayed “close by.”

Greencastle Coast Guard rescued the four kayakers and brought them ashore where a team was waiting to assess them.

The coast guard then returned to the remaining four kayakers, both split at different locations, and also brought them ashore.

Mr Cavanagh said that while the kayakers were very cold, there were “thankfully” no serious injuries sustained.

He added that the prompt call for help and the fact the coast guard were on the scene so quickly contributed to the positive outcome.

Mr Cavanagh said the coast guard team had a “textbook” launch, as they were at sea just six minutes after being paged by the team at Malin Head. They reached the kayakers just 17 minutes after they were paged at their homes.

Meanwhile, a three-hour search of Lough Swilly on Saturday night was called off after what was deemed an “elaborate hoax.”

Malin Head Coast Guard tasked the Lough Swilly RNLI and the Sligo 118 helicopter after a number of “definite” sightings of a red flare from the Fahan area at 7.20pm.

Joe Joyce, of Lough Swilly RNLI said their two lifeboats were launched to the scene and along with the helicopter, a “thorough” search of the Swilly from Fahan to Fr Hegarty’s Rock was undertaken. However, nothing was found and they were stood down.

Mr Canning said the incident was an “awful waste of resources” however members of the public are always encouraged to report any flare sightings.