Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Paddle-boarders blown offshore from Portobello rescued by helicopter

Rescue helicopter in Forth Image copyright RNLI
Image caption The women were winched to safety by a Royal Navy rescue helicopter

Two paddle-boarders were rescued by helicopter after getting into difficulty in the Firth of Forth off Portobello.

A search was launched for the two women, thought to be in their 50s, after one of them raised the alarm via her mobile phone at about 11:30.

RNLI lifeboats, a coastguard rescue team and a Royal Navy helicopter spent 90 minutes trying to locate them.

They were winched to safety and taken to hospital.

They were thought to be in the early stages of hypothermia.

'High waves and spray'

The RNLI said the women had been blown offshore by a strong southerly wind. It has urged people to always check the weather forecast and take a hand-held radio if doing water sports like paddle-boarding.

The women were located about five miles north east of Portobello by the Royal Navy helicopter, Rescue 177.

Kinghorn lifeboat helmsman, Neil Chalmers said: "Conditions in the search area were difficult, with a Force 4 southerly wind creating waves up to 1.2m high, along with spray and a strong sunlight.

"Soon after the arrival of the helicopter, the two females were located with their boards.

"Following initial assessment, both casualties were found to be very cold, and in the early stages of hypothermia, so the decision was made to recover them both to the helicopter for rapid evacuation to hospital. Both were winched from Kinghorn lifeboat, and flown directly to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary."

He added: "This callout had a successful outcome today, and the regular training sessions which the lifeboats and helicopter crews undertake certainly paid off.

"The two casualties were reasonably well equipped, but we would always recommend taking a handheld VHF radio, rather than relying on a mobile phone, and checking the weather forecast before participating in water sports like this."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites