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Major rescue to save canoe group

Fourteen teenagers and two adults were rescued after getting into trouble while out canoeing in Co Tyrone.

Emergency services mounted a major operation in heavy rain and poor visibility on the western side of Lough Neagh, near Ardboe.

Nine of the group were later treated in hospital suffering slight exposure.

At one stage, three lifeboats and a police helicopter were involved in getting the party ashore. They were in a number of canoes.

Ambulances were unable to reach them because there was no road access. Instead, crews had to wait until the group climbed aboard the boats and were then taken to Ardboe, about two miles from an area of the lough known as Blackers Rock, where they called for help at teatime.

The nine were treated at Antrim area hospital.

A third adult - the man who first raised the alarm - was also rescued. He was on the shoreline at the time he called for help, informing the emergency services that the seven canoes had become stranded.

But he then got lost and was eventually located by the police helicopter and picked up by one of the lifeboats.

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