Belfast Telegraph

MP’s son reported saved after jet ski drama on Lough Neagh

The son of an MP was reported to be one of five men rescued from Lough Neagh at the weekend following the breakdown of a jet ski.

A Lough Neagh Rescue boat was launched on Saturday afternoon when a passing yachtsman saw an abandoned jet ski floating on the water near Owen Roe island, off Oxford Island nature reserve and Kinnego Marina.

It is thought the craft was towing several of the men in a rubber ring when it broke down.

Gerry Geoghegan, of Lough Neagh Sailing Club, spotted the jet ski and quickly alerted the authorities.

The rescue team discovered the five men swimming towards shore and once on land they were treated for exhaustion and mild hypothermia.

One of the men rescued is believed to be the son of DUP MP David Simpson. Mr Simpson was unavailable for comment last night.

All five were wearing buoyancy aids, but only one was wearing a wetsuit, while the other four were dressed in shorts.

It is believed the jet ski stopped and a kill cord used to start the machine was dropped in the water. None of the men had a mobile phone and so opted to swim for shore.

Paddy Prunty, of Lough Neagh Rescue, said: “The men were a mile off shore and they were very lucky, another hour and they would have been in severe difficulty.

“They were lifted and brought ashore where they were given tea and refreshments to recover.

“The men were very grateful to be alive and thanked the rescue service.”

Lawrence Cumming, watch officer with the Coastguard’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre, said: “A rig from Kinnego Marina went out and brought the five men to safety.

“We would recommend those with jet skis take the same precautions as boat owners.

“Some jet skis are not suitable for towing and owners should follow manufacturers instructions.

“Jet ski users should follow basic marine precautions including wearing life jackets, carrying distress flares and if possible a marine VHF radio to make contact in the event of any problems arising.

“We would also advise people to take instruction from the Royal Yachting Association.”

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