Busy weekend on coast for emergency services

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LOCAL Coastguard Rescue teams, working alongside personnel from other emergency services dealt with a number of serious incidents along the coast at the weekend.

The first of these occurred at Portstewart Strand shortly after 10.30pm on Saturday evening, when the Coastguard received a request for assistance from the Ambulance Service who were responding to a 999 call from the beach.

A 16 year old girl in a semi-conscious state was located by paramedics in the sand dunes. The Coastguard team from Coleraine treated the girl for hypothermia before evacuating her by stretcher to a waiting Ambulance Rapid Response Vehicle.

She was then transferred by ambulance to the Causeway Hospital.

On Sunday afternoon Coastguards at Portballintrae were alerted to a group of teenagers who were jumping from rocks into the swell.

Coastguards arrived on scene almost immediately and quickly established that everyone was safe.

Shortly after their return to station, Coastguards responded to another 999 call reporting a person in difficulties in the water near Harbour Hill, Portstewart.

The Coastguard team quickly located a 13-year-old boy caught in the swell near the rocks. The all-weather lifeboat from Portrush was directed in by the Coastguards on the rocks and the struggling swimmer was taken aboard.

Portrush Lifeboat 2nd Deputy Cox Perry Walton) was able to get the boat in close enough to the rocks to throw the young man a heaving line.

As Coastguards and lifeboat crew left the scene, they received a spontaneous round of applause from the large crowd of onlookers who had witnessed the dramatic rescue.

The rescued boy was handed over to Coastguards by the lifeboat crew on arrival at Portrush Harbour and stretchered to a waiting ambulance. He was taken to the Causeway Hospital.

Speaking after these incidents, Coleraine Coastguard Station Officer Chris Little said, “These incidents highlight the value of the 999 system: in each case the emergency calls allowed the Coastguard and other rescue units to respond quickly to the developing situation.

“We would urge all water users to exercise extreme caution, especially near rocks.”