Three men are rescued as their boat drifts out to sea
Three men were lucky to escape with their lives after their boat broke down off the north coast and drifted out to sea yesterday.
A search operation involving the Coastguard and RNLI was sparked after one of the men on the four-metre speedboat managed to contact a relative on his mobile phone.
Belfast Coastguard asked for help from Red Bay RNLI just before noon and the volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat.
After an extensive search, they were unable to find the vessel.
As a result, the search area was widened and the Sligo-based Irish Coastguard helicopter was dispatched.
After searching for two-and-a-half hours in difficult weather, the lifeboat crew found the vessel four miles off Garron Point at Red Bay.
The boat was drifting out in blustery conditions.
While the three men were not in any immediate danger, they were suffering from shock.
Red Bay RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat spokesman Paddy McLaughlin said: "These three men were extremely lucky this afternoon as their small vessel had broken down and was drifting out to sea.
"The call out was particularly challenging for the lifeboat crew as the casualties were unsure of where they were and it took a considerable amount of time to find them.
"Our crew is highly trained and they were able to locate the casualties, all of whom were relieved to see the lifeboat, and bring them safely back to shore.
"We would remind anyone taking to the water to carry a means of communication and to plan your trip in advance so you are familiar with the area should you get into any difficulty and need to request assistance."