Strangford kayakers are rescued in RNLI operation
Three men who got into difficulty on Strangford Lough during Storm Abagail survived by using their kayaks to make a raft while waiting to be rescued by the RNLI.
The three men, who were battling rough waters and high winds which reached almost gale force, were rescued just before 1pm yesterday.
The volunteer lifeboat crew from Portaferry RNLI launched the Inshore Atlantic 85 after receiving a report from the Coastguard. One of the men had lost his paddle in the bad weather and it had ended up in the water.
The crew rescued the men, who had created a makeshift raft by securing their kayaks together, from north east of Limestone Rock in Strangford Lough.
The crew managed to pull up alongside the three men and load them and their kayaks into the lifeboat.
Once they had secured the men and their equipment, the crew headed for the shore before returning to the Portaferry RNLI Station at 1.15pm.
Brian Bailie, lifeboat operations manager for Portaferry RNLI, said the hard work and dedication of volunteers who had braved the storm had resulted in the safe return to shore of three men.
He said: "In what were very tricky weather conditions, the three men had acted promptly and correctly when they realised that they were in trouble.
"We are all delighted with the outcome and urge anyone considering going on the water at this time of year to take all necessary precautions.
"Further information on safety on the water can be found on our website www.rnli.org."