Highlands & Islands

Capsized kayaker airlifted to hospital

Rescue in Kyle Rhea Straits Image copyright Kyle RNLI
Image caption A coastguard helicopter and Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI at scene of the rescue

A kayaker has been airlifted to hospital after he capsized in the Kyle Rhea Straits between Skye and the Highland mainland.

The alarm was raised at about 13:00 in a 999 call to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

A boat, the Helen Bruce, was passing nearby and managed to tow the kayak with the man holding on to the craft close to shore.

He managed to swim to shore but was cold and exhausted.

Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI lifeboat and a volunteer coastguard team were sent to the scene.

The man was airlifted to Inverness' Raigmore Hospital by Inverness Coastguard helicopter.

'Slippery shore'

The RNLI said the man was hypothermic because of the length of time he had been in the water.

A spokesman for Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI said: "It was decided due to the extremely remote location and the casualties condition, the best method of extraction was via the coastguard helicopter.

"The helicopter arrived on scene at 14:05 and landed on the shore to enable two medics to examine the casualty.

"After discussions with the lifeboat crew, local coastguard teams and paramedics, it was decided that they would winch the casualty on-board the helicopter instead of trying to carry him up the extremely slippery shoreline.

"The casualty was winched on-board the helicopter at 14:20 and flown to hospital."

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