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Ayrshire Coastguard inflatable rescue sees three airlifted to hospital

May 16, 2023

A NORTH Ayrshire coastguard team has had to save seven people blown out to sea on inflatables - in only a three-day period.

One of four callouts in this period, which the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team responded to, saw three people airlifted to hospital after being saved from inflatables near Irvine.

Now the emergency service is urging the public to leave them at home.

The spate of callouts began on Tuesday, June 6, in the evening after two people were blown out to sea on an inflatable near Ardrossan South Beach.

The team responded immediately with RNLI Troon Lifeboat also being launched to assist.

A rescue craft from a nearby motor vessel was also sent to assist and was able to pick up the two stranded persons and convey them to Ardrossan harbour, where they were met by the team.

Fortunately no medical assistance was required and relevant safety advice was provided.

On Wednesday, a multi-agency response was launched to two separate incidents.

The first incident was in response to reports of two paddleboarders being blown off shore near Irvine Beach, with the second callout later in the evening with two people rescued off Ardrossan after being blown out to sea on an inflatable pool toy.

Around 8.30pm yesterday (Thursday, June 8) another multi-agency response was launched to reports of several people being blown offshore in a large inflatable near Irvine.

The team responded with Ayr Coastguard Rescue Team, Troon Lifeboat and Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 199 all being tasked to the incident.

The three occupants of the inflatable were in contact with the Coastguard via mobile phone and had advised it was now taking on water.

Due to the situation rapidly deteriorating and with the lifeboat still proceeding, the decision was made to airlift all three casualties by helicopter.

The helicopter has thereafter landed on Irvine Beach with the three casualties checked over by the helicopter paramedics and no further medical attention required.

A spokesperson for the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team said: "Recent days have once again highlighted the dangers of inflatables at the coast.

"These inflatable pool toys are designed for use in the swimming pool and are not intended for use in the sea.

"Fortunately all of this week's incidents have had successful outcomes due to the swift actions of the public by dialling 999 and asking for the Coastguard, and the quick response from attending emergency services and the support provided by the wider maritime community.

"We would urge everyone to leave the inflatable toys at home if you’re intending on visiting the coast and ask anyone undertaking any sort of water sport activity to always check the weather forecast and wind direction before setting off.

"It's not worth taking the risk if it's an offshore wind. Please also make sure you have a lifejacket or floatation aid suitable for your activity and have a means of calling for help.

"If you get into difficulty along the coast or at sea or you think someone else is in trouble, don't hesitate - always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

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