UK: HMS Blyth Rescues Stricken Men
HMS Blyth, which left her base port at Faslane for a three-month NATO deployment to the Mediterranean, has rescued two stricken men after their Wayfarer dinghy capsized off Ailsa Craig late yesterday afternoon.
The two men, thought to be in their late 20s, had set out from Largs on Tuesday, April 22 for a two-day sailing trip and planned to sail around Ailsa Craig in the 16ft dinghy before staying the night at Lamlash on Arran.
They got into difficulties a mile and a half off the famous maritime landmark in moderate seas and capsized, before their aft locker compartment flooded and they were unable to right the boat.
One of the men used his mobile phone to call a friend who is a member of the Campbeltown RNLI crew, who in turn alerted Belfast’s Coastguard station
They were able to identify shipping in the vicinity and contacted HMS Blyth, which was about three miles away at the time of the call.
The mine-hunter was first on the scene and launched her sea boat to recover the two men who were cold but otherwise uninjured.
After providing hot showers and a change of clothes, the men were handed over to Girvan lifeboat ‘Sylvia Burrell’ for transport back to the mainland.
The commanding officer of HMS Blyth, Lieutenant Commander Mark Redmayne, explained: “As soon as we got the call from the Coastguard at about 3pm, we responded by deploying my ship’s company as lookouts.
“Soon after, one of our diving team spotted the lads on the upturned dinghy.
“It was very fortuitous that we were passing at the right place, at the right time, considering we are on our way to the Mediterranean.
“They were recovered by our sea boat and looked like a pair of drowned rats.
“They had been clinging to the boat in the water for about 60 minutes but once aboard HMS Blyth we were able to offer them a shower and some overalls to wear.”
The ship’s captain continued: “Although luck and unusually favourable local weather conditions had a hand in the successful recovery of these two experienced sailors, the inter-operability between HM Coastguard, the RNLI and RN has undoubtedly ensured that these individuals will return to Largs with little more than their pride dented.
“One minute the ship’s company were settling into their transit to the Mediterranean, the next they were eagerly assisting in the recovery of two fellow sea-farers – life is never dull in the Royal Navy.”
Press Release, April 23, 2014; Image: Royal Navy