A search of Lough Swilly conducted by Lough Swilly RNLI Tyne and Atlantic Class lifeboats resulted in a missing kayaker being recovered having spent over 2 hours in the water.
The initial alarm was raised at 2pm on Saturday afternoon when shore marshals of a kayaking competition reported a kayaker overdue. Malin Head Coastguard launched Lough Swilly RNLI’s inshore and all weather lifeboats as well as tasking the Coastguard Helicopter from Sligo. Three yachts from Fahan Yacht Club and a Dive Rib from Inishowen Sub Aqua Club also assisted in the search.
After searching the mid section of the lough for approximately 30 minutes the casualty was spotted by one of the yachts and Lough Swilly ILB proceeded directly to the area. On arrival on scene the crew of the lifeboat found the young man holding on tightly to his upturned kayak and relieved to see help.
The lifeboat crew recovered him from the water and then transferred him to the All Weather Lifeboat when it subsequently arrived on scene. Showing signs of hypothermia the casualty was treated aboard the lifeboat prior to paramedics boarding the boat that had by then made its way to Rathmullan Pier. After an examination by the paramedics and some follow up precautions the young kayaker returned to Buncrana Pier aboard the lifeboat where he was meet by his relieved friends.
Commenting on the recovery operation, Helmsman Eamonn Mahon said that as they approached the casualty in the water his first words to the crew were “I thought no one was going to come for me!”.