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Canoeists and walkers rescued in Ross


By Jackie Mackenzie

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The injured walker and canoeist were flown to Raigmore Hospital
The injured walker and canoeist were flown to Raigmore Hospital

The injured walker and canoeist were flown to Raigmore Hospital

THE Stornoway Coastguard helicopter has been involved in a double rescue in Ross-shire, airlifting an injured walker and a canoeist to hospital in separate dramas.

The first call was taken at just after at noon on Sunday when the helicopter was scrambled to help a female walker who had fallen around 30ft and injured her back on the coastal path between Ullapool and Achiltibuie in Wester Ross.

The rescue helicopter lowered its winchman to the female and then airlifted four members of the Dundonnel Mountain Rescue Team to help the winchman secure her in a stretcher.

As the female walker was being winched, Stornoway Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre received a 999 call reporting two canoeists in difficulties at the Summer Isles, Loch Broom, just seven miles from where the walker was injured.

As this report was being taken the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Falmouth reported that they had picked up a distress alert from a Personal Locator Beacon in the same area.

The rescue helicopter was sent to the area of the beacon and a mayday broadcast was issued on VHF radio by Stornoway Coastguard asking for help from other vessels in the area.

The helicopter had seen two rigid inflatable boats watching them winch the walker and contacted the boats by VHF radio, asking the boats to follow the helicopter to the canoeists.

Both canoeist were found and pulled from water by ‘Seascape’ before being taken ashore to the village of Dornie where the helicopter landed so that the paramedic could check the condition of both canoeists.

One was found to be suffering from hypothermia and taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness by rescue helicopter with the walker.

Martin Collins, Watch Manager, said: "Everything came together today to make sure the three people involved in these incidents got the best attention as fast as possible.

"It goes to show the how something like a small personal locator beacon can speed up the rescue of those in trouble. Within minutes of the beacon being activated, the coastguard had the position and the details of who it was registered to.

"The response from the boats in the area of Loch Broom enabled the canoeists to be recovered and brought ashore quickly. Lochinver RNLI Lifeboat was also on its way and assisted with the recovery of the canoes.

We would like to thank the Dundonnel Mountain Rescue and the crews of the ‘Seascape’, ‘Triton’ and ‘PO1’ who went to the aid of the canoeists.


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